How is global media reporting on the climate crisis?

(Eco Business, 3 Sep 2019) In a recent study, media experts found that domestic socio-economic and political factors such as national income and press freedom influence how local media portray the climate crisis. In reporting a global phenomenon, how have journalists brought home the story of climate change?

Climate change is a crisis that crosses borders, but until recently the global media has struggled to effectively report on a phenomenon that touches virtually every corner of the world.

However, despite growing media attention by major news outlets, climate journalism remains highly localised, with domestic factors shaping how journalists across the world tell the story of climate change.

According to a recent study by researchers in the United States and Vietnam, media coverage of climate change differs from country to country and is strongly influenced by the politics and development levels of individual countries.

One of its key findings revealed that richer countries framed climate change as more of a political issue that affects policymaking, national security and government elections. Articles in these countries also focused more on scientific research and evidence of climate change.

Domestic politics and scientific evidence were two of the seven different ways climate change was framed in 37,000 articles that were published across 45 countries from 2011 to 2015. The other contexts in which the climate crisis was reported were: international relations, economic impact, social progress, natural impact and energy. 

Using a tailored computer algorithm to scan articles published in four languages—English, French, Portuguese and Spanish—researchers looked at how factors such as emission levels, climate vulnerability, press freedom and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), shaped how the local press portrayed climate change. 

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Eco Business, 3 Sep 2019: How is global media reporting on the climate crisis?