Unprecedented Media Attention Focused On Climate Change This Week and Beyond

Led by The Nation and Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), more than 250 news outlets from across the U.S. and around the globe will be part of a concerted push this week of increasing their climate news coverage – dubbed “Covering Climate Now” — with the goal of “strengthening the media’s focus on the climate crisis.”   Altogether, the news outlets have an audience of more than 1 billion people worldwide. And here is the biggest news of all — Variety reports — and we can confirm that “NBC News has launched a new “climate unit” that will present reports throughout this week, says Janelle Rodriguez, the NBC News senior vice president who will oversee it.”

Why This Matters: YESSSSS! Let’s start with a round of applause! This is huge progress. The first step in any problem-solving exercise is honing in on the problem itself. In this case, one of the many reasons why we as a society have not taken sufficient action sooner is that much of the public was not aware of the gravity of the situation with respect to our warming planet until recently. “The media’s minimization of the looming disaster is one of our great journalistic failures,” Nation reporter Mark Hertsgaard and CJR Editor Kyle Pope said in A New Beginning for Climate Reporting. The #CoveringClimateNow program is great and hopefully, only the beginning of a more intense media focus on climate change and it is happening not a minute too soon.

Why Has It Taken So Long?

There has been a major misperception in newsrooms around the country that reporting the truth about climate change would be perceived as “activism,” according to Hertsgaard and Pope. In addition, there has been a sense among journalists that it is too late anyway, and that such a depressing subject might make readers tune out. The goal of the project is to overcome these roadblocks that have stood in the way of more and better coverage of climate change.

The week of climate focus by the 250 organizations (listed here) will continue through Monday, September 23rd. Of course Our Daily Planet will continue its coverage for as long as there are Friends of the Planet that will read us!

And check out the first reporting from that new NBC News climate unit below.

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