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Word or Phrase. Arrow Left Arrow Right. In their new roles as public relations advisors, many experienced former journalists with a detailed understanding of newsroom culture and news values are able to supply journalists with useful quotations, sound bites and even partly-written stories.
This often means that journalists give space to both sides of a particular debate without making a judgement on their relative merits. To do so would make them subject to allegations of bias.
kinun-mobile.com/wp-content/2020-02-20/loja-cellphone-locate.php In their book, Merchants of Doubt, Eric Conway and Naomi Oreskes, two historians of science, investigated why human-made climate change was presented in the news media as an unsettled debate when the scientific literature supporting it was overwhelming. They found that a group of scientific experts challenged the consensus on climate change on behalf of corporations and conservative think tanks. Some of the individuals involved in this had previously challenged scientific consensus on a range of issues including the negative health implications of tobacco smoke.
Corporations engage in this creation of doubt through public relations activity because climate change requires international cooperation on environmental legislation. This framing makes climate breakdown seem less urgent and therefore less newsworthy. How can we improve?
The notion of objectivity needs to be reclaimed through good journalism which invests resources in providing analysis and verification. News organisations are in an important position to explain complex scientific concepts in a language that most people understand, but they need to improve their scientific literacy in order to verify the relative merit of competing claims. Journalists with a better grasp of the science and indeed social science of climate change would be less reliant on press releases, reducing the impact of corporate lobbyists and the need to include their public relations activity as part of the news.
However, these suggestions are optimistic considering the wider power structures that constrain how journalists operate. This article is part of The Covering Climate Now series This is a concerted effort among news organisations to put the climate crisis at the forefront of our coverage. The Conversation also runs Imagine, a newsletter in which academics explore how the world can rise to the challenge of climate change.