Climate-Driven Migration Makes Front Page at WPost
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Shankar Vendantam's story headlined "Climate Fears Are Driving 'Ecomigration' Across the Globe" runs on the front page at the Washington Post today. It's not often that climate change is a front-pager at the NY Times or the WPost, making it important to understand the types of narratives that prompt editors to give the issue top attention.
For example, in January 2006, Andrew Revkin's report that NASA political appointees were blocking James Hansen's ability to make public statements ran as the lead story of the Sunday NY Times. For Times' editors, who earned their stripes covering politics, the story was probably a classic whistle-blower tale. It also fit with a larger narrative about the Bush administration favoring ideology and cronyism over expertise, while featuring as a central character Hansen, the climate saga's best known protagonist.
Vendantam's article at the Washington Post is more difficult to figure out, though it is likely the human interest (and impact) element that pushed it to the front page. The article leads with a local-area NASA computer programmer who moved his family to New Zealand, fearing climate's inevitable impact in the US (the web story includes a photo with his family, the print version does not). Vendantam then provides context by detailing statistics across the globe on climate-driven migration, quoting several experts on the topic. He closes the article by profiling several U.S. residents in hurricane zones who have moved or are planning on it.
For a review of the factors that shape journalistic decision-making, see this short article synthesizing previous research on what media scholars call "agenda-building," written for the International Encyclopedia of Communication.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Two massive clouds of dust in orbit around the Earth have been discussed for years and finally proven to exist.
- Hungarian astronomers have proven the existence of two "pseudo-satellites" in orbit around the earth.
- These dust clouds were first discovered in the sixties, but are so difficult to spot that scientists have debated their existence since then.
- The findings may be used to decide where to put satellites in the future and will have to be considered when interplanetary space missions are undertaken.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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