Climate change is often the untold story behind many news headlines, like extreme weather, refugees, national security, and public health. And while there is certainly more climate news than before, it still only accounts for a tiny fraction of our news stories - for example, in the US climate made up less than 1% of television news airtime in 2020.
Like, praise and share quality climate stories on social media and ask those not covering the climate crisis with the urgency it deserves, to do better. Subscribe to news outlets covering the climate crisis well, and let them know that’s why you’ve given them your support.
Push for climate change to become a daily, front page story, weaved into relevant news stories ranging from extreme weather and the energy crisis, to food, fashion, football and finance.
The best way to reach news outlets directly is through email or social media.
Like, share, and praise good climate coverage to encourage reporters and news outlets to do more of it. If you need a place to start, here’s a weekly round up. Subscribe to news organizations that promote quality climate news like AFP, Aljazeera, Channel 4, PBS News Hour, The Guardian, and Washington Post, to name a few. Check if your regular news provider is committed to covering climate. You could also follow award winning climate journalists.
Remind news outlets that climate is a big news story that people want to hear about. In fact, the majority of people globally are worried about the crisis (as high as 94% of people in some countries) and are paying more attention to climate coverage than ever before.
Ask news outlets to not only increase their climate coverage but also to mention the climate connection across all their news topics. Ask them to report on the solutions, not just the problems and if you’re concerned about the facts in a story, use fact-checking resources like Climate Feedback or DeSmogBlog. When reaching out to journalists and news outlets, here are some talking points from Covering Climate Now and Global Investigative Journalism Network that might help.
You could also support groups that promote better climate coverage such as Covering Climate Now, End Climate Silence, Climate Tracker, Earth Journalism Network, and the Media and Climate Change Observatory.
Putting climate on the front pages and within mainstream topics like the economy, sports and crime, makes it a pressing issue for government and business to address. As noted climate journalist Bill McKibben put it “Repetition and constant reiteration are precisely what we need right now”.
Better audience ratings incentivise news outlets and journalists to cover more climate stories, and raises the bar across the board.
Plus, better quality reporting means you get access to more reliable news to make better informed choices about how you act and who you support.
Many people read local news more than global news, but local news outlets aren’t always making the climate connection. Pushing for better coverage at a local level will help people understand the impact climate change is already having on their own lives and the urgent need for action.
- Start a conversation about climate change & steps to take.Find out moreTeam up with others and boost your impact.Find out moreChoose how financial institutions use your money.Find out moreCall on elected officials to speed up climate action for us all.Find out moreInspire your organization to make changes that matter.Find out moreGet news outlets to report climate news in the top stories.Find out moreBuy what you need and use what you buy.Find out moreReduce the amount of meat you eat in a week.Find out moreShare a ride, go electric or travel by bike or foot instead.Find out moreUpgrade your home to a clean energy plan or install solar.Find out moreCheck the impact of climate change on your mental health.Find out moreStay local, make a video call, or find a new way to explore the world.Find out more
Ask journalists to make the climate connection across all their news topics from food to fashion, football to finance, art to weather.
An environmental policy reporter in Colorado tracked local news coverage of the June 2021 Colorado heatwave and found that less than 4% of the 126 local-news stories referenced climate change.
Climate coverage as a whole still made up only 0.4% of overall coverage on corporate broadcast morning, nightly and Sunday morning news shows in 2020
Climate coverage has increased 55% from 2020. The Media and Climate Change Observatory monitors climate coverage in 127 sources (across newspapers, radio and TV) in 59 countries in seven different regions around the world.
“Many news outlets receive advertising money from emissions-intensive industries, and claim that their readers, listeners and viewers don’t want to hear about climate change, despite public opinion polls suggesting the opposite.”
“Most people are saying they rarely hear climate change news because most people pay attention to local news.”
“Newsrooms are still not covering climate enough [...] more climate stories does not necessarily equate to quality coverage.” - Abby Rabinowitz from The Columbia Journalism Review
“Repetition and constant reiteration are precisely what we need right now”.
“The media’s failure to connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather happening now in the U.S. is a key part of why Americans don’t perceive climate change to be a major, priority issue [...] A lot of people, even Americans who accept climate science, still believe climate change is something that happens far away, either in the future or in another country.” - Lisa Hymas, the climate and energy programme director at Media Matters