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ONLY HOURS Left to Be Part of a New Collaborative Approach to Media Coverage of Climate

Posted on 30 October 2013 by Stephen Leahy

Reposted: Join the 70+ 112+ supporters who want better media coverage of climate.

Frustrated by the lack of interest in climate coverage by mainstream media, 15 young journalists on 4 continents want to bring a new collaborative approach to climate change journalism. This is a voluntary effort to both increase and improve reporting called the Climate News Mosaic (CNM)

They need your help for their first collaborative project that will connect what's happening at the UN climate conference (COP) in Warsaw this November with climate impacts/perspectives on the ground from their home countries. 

Here's how it will work: 

* 2 or 3 journalists will go to the COP in Warsaw to report and co-ordinate. The rest will be back home doing local coverage on climate. Everyone contributes and shares interviews, links to reports, sources, A/V and so on.

* Members (mainly freelancers) do articles, audio and video for their own outlets. Some 25-30 original stories in at least 4 languages will be made available for use in whole or in part by any media outlet anywhere in the world. 

* A live blog placed on a number non-profit news sites like IPS, Earth Journalism Network , and others will bring the public a wealth of current info on what is happening at the Warsaw COP but also from other countries. (i.e. a short video from Warsaw, a photo from a rally in San Francisco, a soundbite from a press conference in Nairobi, a quote from an interview with an Italian scholar.)

Learn more about CNM participants on this global map with short bios.  

I'm sort of the mentor having used crowd-sourced funding to support my science and climate journalism the past 4 years. That support kept me going and in 2012 I was a co-winner of the Prince Albert/United Nations Global Prize for media coverage of climate change.

For-profit media owners are simply not interested in good science and environment reporting. Coverage of climate change has been in sharp decline since the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009. Even the New York Times closed its environment desk this year. It's not that there isn't a lot to report on. Quite the opposite. 

Here's how you can help:  

Please spread the word about this project. We need to raise $6000 for travel, accomodation and other costs to do the Warsaw COP reporting.  Please click on Indiegogo to contribute what you can. (There are 'perks' for contributors including a Google Hangout.) 

This is a fresh new idea: Independent journalists in different countries working together to provide all of us with the news and information on the most important issue of our time. 

Please join in and help out

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Comments 1 to 12:

  1. Let alone climate science coverage, more and more as a public we're expected to offer useful guidance on policy hinging on science in general.  Without the help of competent science journalism we may as well be making decisions by throwing darts over our shoulders. As Stephen says, tragically for all of us science journalism is a vanishing species of news content, even as it is more necessary than ever before.

    The project Stephen describes will help provide a vital breath of life to science journalism in general, beyond the topic of climate change; fostering and encouraging young journalists to cover scientific topics will be richly rewarding for us all as we try to shape our future in a properly informed manner.

    So go forth and multiply! Don't look left, don't look right, just go. 

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  2. Thanks Doug. You make our case better than I did!

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  3. Only 4 days left and CNM is half way to its fundraising goal to help some young jurnos cover the UN climate meeting next month. If you want better coverage of climate please help out by making a small contribution today.


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  4. Further to Stephen's exhortation, less than 5 minutes are required to make a contribution. 

    Why spend less than a handful of minutes on helping some journalists cover the meeting?

    Here's why coverage is important:

    No coverage, no blip on the radar of public consciousness. 

    Spend 5 minutes arguing  on an obscure comment thread with somebody whose mind won't be changed, or massively multiply more positive use of the same time by choosing something better. Hey, you can do both; there's no opportunity cost here. Just do the contribution first, to make sure it happens. 

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  5. I can see the decline in temperature! It is all a hoax!

    Sorry just got a bit excited.

    I am just a grumpy old retired scientist and I sent some dollars to this real effort.

    My ravings will not make much difference but smart young people given the opportunity will do far more given enough support!



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  6. Doug, thanks a lot for posting this very telling graph. I'll use it on a slide presenting the project tonight. And Bert, I love your alternative interpretation. Seems it will get very cold soon!

    I also tried Google trends with "climate change" and it looked similar, then with "CO2 emissions" and "greenhouse gases" - but those were just low lines on the bottom.

    The one thing I cannot find on your graph and the Google trend page is what the lines actually mean. How many articles/posts were there in 2007, for example? I guess it's just a graph showing relative interest. 

    A big Thank You to everyone who has supported our project so far. Very encouraging.

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  7. Anja, unfortunately Google Trends only shows relative frequency of searches:

    Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart. If at most 10% of searches for the given region and time frame were for "pizza," we'd consider this 100. This doesn't convey absolute search volume.


    The numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google
    over time. They don't represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100. Each point on the graph is divided by the highest point, or 100. When we don't have enoughdata, 0 is shown.

    The graph is drawn from searches satisfied by media headlines. To my mind, that's a proxy indicator for public interest as it's capable of being served by media. 

    Howerver, my much more intelligent spouse heard me grumbling about Google's sphinx-like silence on absolute numbers of headlines and after rolling her eyes took me here where we find this:

    Ain't it a shame that the tawdry twaddle from UEA produced a bigger spike of media coverage than AR4?

    Method behind the graph as well as more views and data are here: Media Coverage of Climate Change/Global Warming

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  8. Actually, come to think of it, if we liken the graph above to energy it seems that little actual "work" was done by the UEA affair. Perhaps it's a stretch to analogize energy and headlines, but the integral of late 2009 appears to be fairly shrimpy compared to what came before and after. Lots of headline power in UEA but too short to accomplish much?

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  9. doug @7&8, you can take further consolation from the fact that the release of the UEA hacked emails coincided with the Copenhagen conference on climate change, which certainly attracted a lot of media attention in Australia.  Part of the spike, probably most of it in Europe, will be due to the conference rather than to the UEA hack.

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  10. I do hope these guys reach their goal.

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  11. Tom @9 agree its the UN climate conference at end of every year that spikes coverage. Copenhagen had by far the biggest media turnout with 6000 media, 100,000 people marching in the streets etc. The graph does show how media interest in the UN meets has fallen off. Barely a handful of jurnos from North America at the 2012 COP in Doha. 

    With CNM we're hoping to do something to halt the decline.

    Thanks Alexandre - we're very close thanks to SkS readers!

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  12. Success! The project is fully funded.

    Special thanks to Skeptical Science readers who spread the word and made a significant share of the donations we believe. Some of our CNM articles will be posted here and we will send details about where you can follow the live blog. 

    Thank you.

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