As concern for planet rise more focus on climate coverage, finds RISJ study

BATHINDA: With climate change taking a centre stage for severe heat waves across Europe and China, unprecedented floods in Pakistan and parts of India including Bengaluru with headlines as ‘UK recorded hottest ever year in 2022’ and ‘India records warmest December in 122 years’, more thrust on the adaptation, mitigation and loss and damage issues at COP27 at Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in December 2022, the more concern is being shown on climate coverage by media outlets. The more stress is also being given to increase staff strength to cover this core sector as various media organisations are finding ways to devise strategy on climate coverage.
The facts came to fore in a survey conducted by Reuters Institute for the study of journalism (RISJ). Climate coverage is only a part of the wider study titled ‘Journalism, media and technology trends and predictions 2023’ conducted from November 24 to December 16 from a survey of 303 media leaders in 53 countries. The study on various aspects of journalism, changing face with digital journalism at the core and seen as future has been conducted and commpiled by Nic Newman, senior research associate at RISJ. It was published on Tuesday.
The study states that as the impact of climate change becomes more evident, the news industry has been rethinking how it covers this complex and multi-faceted story. Around half (49%) say they have created a specialist climate team to strengthen coverage, with a third hiring more staff (31%). Just under half (44%) say they are integrating dimensions of the climate debate into other coverage (for example business and sport) and three in ten (30%) have developed a climate change strategy for their company.
It mentions that going by extreme weather events, heatwaves, famines, wildfires and drought in parts of world apart from catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, the moves are afoot to change this with enhanced specialist teams, and new strategies for sustainable journalism.
In the survey nearly half of respondents (49%) say that they have created a news climate team with just under a third (31%) hiring more staff to cover different aspects of the crisis. Some media outlets have enhanced coverage which include setting up of Climate Lab, a section that uses data and graphics to show the impact of global heating, and consumer guides to help consumers navigate choices about how to live sustainable lives. Many publishers have launched podcasts and newsletters.
Three in ten (30%) say they have developed a strategy to improve climate coverage. A start-up aimed at creating content for younger audiences, is building content around the idea of a ‘Better Planet’, bringing together climate, biodiversity, solutions/innovation, and the impact of food and diet.
A third of news executives (33%) also say they have taken steps in the last year to improve sustainability. An organisation is working to reduce the carbon footprint of its reporting and production. Around a quarter of our survey respondents (23%) say they have embarked on training programmes to increase awareness, with more than four in ten (44%) recognising that elements of the climate story need to be part of wider coverage across the newsroom. Cross-country communities are being developed for more and better climate coverage.
* 63% publishers rate their own climate coverage as good
* 49% say created a climate team to raise profile
* 44% say measures to ensure climate considered by all beats
* 33% into sustainability and carbon footprint goals
* 31% hired more staff to cover climate issues
* 30% developed a climate strategy
* 23% trained staff on climate reporting

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