Interest in climate journalism on the rise

July 31st, 2019

Public interest in
climate journalism is on the rise, according to a new analysis out this week. 

In response to a
request from the Colombia Journalism
(CJR), Su Hang, a data scientist at Chartbeat analysed climate-related
articles from January 2017 and June 2019.

The articles were
compiled from 1,300 media websites worldwide, the majority of which were in
North America and Europe.

Examining the first
quarter of each year, the number of minutes that people spent reading
climate-related stories doubled by the first quarter of 2019 compared to the
previous years.

“Climate change
content matters,” Hang told the CJR. “That’s clear based on the data from both
coverage and consumption of climate change content.” 

At the Guardian, a CJR partner in the Covering Climate Now project, environmental journalism has racked up a 50 per cent increase in contributions over the past financial year.

Over 60 media outlets
from around the world have joined the project. Each outlet has committed to one
week of focused coverage in September to coincide with the UN climate summit in
New York. 

“We’re not here to
tell people what to write or broadcast,” the CJR announcement reads. “All
that’s required is for each outlet to make a good faith effort to increase the
amount and the visibility of its climate coverage – to make it clear to their
audiences that climate change is not just one more story but the overriding
story of our time.” 

In January, RTE announced that it intends to greatly increase its climate coverage in response to growing demand from its audience.

The national
broadcaster has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years for its coverage
of climate change. In 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released
a report which suggested that the Irish broadcast media could be doing more to
report on climate issues. 

Only three per cent of
stories on broadcast media were devoted to climate change or sustainability
issues during the peak time for climate change news analysed by the agency, the
report found. 

RTE News and Prime Time were singled out for a lack of any “thematic coverage” of climate change or sustainability issues that, the EPA said, “require a certain level of unpacking over time”. 

About the Author

Kayle Crosson

Kayle is a multimedia journalist focused on climate and environmental issues and contributes to The Irish Times and The Green News.

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