Sunday, 17 January 2010

On journalism and climate change

The Sunday Edition on CBC has started a new segment called "Mediaphiles" which will "look at how journalists are doing, at reporting the stories". This week they looked at climate change reporting today. He talked with Margaret Wente - who seems to be everyone on CBC these days - and someone else (who I will add in here as soon as the Sunday Edition updates its website and reminds me of his name), and the discussion was definitely one worth having.

Things are slipping through the cracks when it comes to reporting on climate change and on science in general. Reporters aren't given enough time to look fully into a story, to read all the things they need to read, ask the people they need to ask, and really get a hold on the story to report it fully, which is the point, isn't it? They cited the example of those emails that hit the news late last year, about the so-called climate change conspiracy going on in the scientific community. No one really had time to take a real look at these emails until days later. Too often, reporters opt for a one side against the other model, in an effort to be fair. Often, the truth is found somewhere in the middle, and the nuances are the important part.

Margaret Wente said:

"We need smarter news editors and news managers. For years and years people assumed there's one basic truth and that's the end of the questions, but that's the beginning of the questions. It takes a really good critical thinker. "

Everyone agreed we need dedicated science reporters and they need the time to really look into the stories they tell, particularly with something so heated (pardon the pun) as climate change. But will we really get that these days when most media outlets seem to be going the other way? Will the real investigative work be left to bloggers?

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