News organizations are timidly changing their approach to covering climate crisis

By | July 8, 2019

The New York Times reports:

As Europe heats up, Greenland melts and the Midwest floods, many news organizations are devoting more resources to climate change as they cover the topic with more urgency.

In Florida, six newsrooms with different owners have taken the unusual step of pooling their resources and sharing their reporting on the issue. They plan to examine how climate change will affect the state’s enormous agriculture sector as well as “the future of coastal towns and cities — which ones survive, which ones go under,” according to a statement released when the initiative was announced last month.

Florida’s record-breaking heat waves, devastating storms like Hurricane Michael and increased flooding at high tide have not been lost on Mindy Marques, the publisher and executive editor of The Miami Herald, one of the six organizations taking part in the effort.

“It’s undeniable that we are living with the impact of changes in our climate every day,” Ms. Marques said.

The other five outlets that have joined the initiative are The Palm Beach Post, The South Florida Sun Sentinel, The Tampa Bay Times, The Orlando Sentinel and WLRN Public Media. Ms. Marques said the partnership was not politically motivated.

“We’re not launching a campaign,” she said. “We’re launching information, knowledge.”

The Guardian, the left-wing British daily, recently updated its house style to prefer the phrase “climate emergency” over “climate change.” It also recommends “climate science denier” in place of “climate skeptic.” The publication has also started listing the global carbon dioxide level on its daily weather page.

The New York Times established a desk dedicated to climate change in 2017, with editors and reporters in Washington and New York who collaborate with bureaus around the world.

But even among journalists who want to convey that climate change is a crisis, there is not unanimity about how to play it. [Continue reading…]

Among journalists cognizant of the gravity of the issue, it’s commonly said that the climate crisis is the biggest story of our time.

In fact, it is only part of an even bigger event in this planet’s history: the threatened loss of a majority of all species by the end of the 21st century.

Human beings have not only destabilized the climate and set in motion a sequence of massive environmental changes; we are also in the midst of an extermination process that is likely to continue even if through a social, political, and technological miracle we reverse the current level of emissions of greenhouse gases.

What kind of Pyrrhic victory would that be to save the planet if we have simultaneously also destroyed most of life?

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