The Future is Non-Profit Science and Enviro Journalism

On last week's announcement that CNN is shifting the focus and form of its science coverage, I am going to be posting what is a very different interpretation than the predictable laments from various bloggers. But, for now, the CNN announcement also directs attention towards what I believe is the future of science and environmental journalism. As I wrote last February and have discussed at various venues:

The future will be online, in film, and/or multi-media, merging reporting with synthesis, analysis, personal narrative, and opinion. The goals will be to inform but also to persuade and to mobilize. And most importantly, it will be non-profit, sponsored by universities, museums, think tanks, foundations, professional societies such as AAAS, or government affiliated organizations such as NSF or the National Academies.


On that note, CJR's Curtis Brainard provides details today on Climate Central, the recently launched news collaboration between journalists and scientists, sponsored by Princeton University. An objective of the initiative is to syndicate stories to local TV news outlets, an important way to broaden the audience for climate change.

As I suggest in a quote from the Brainard article, we should think of non-profit media as an integral part of the infrastructure that local communities need to adapt to climate change. A community without a quality source of climate coverage--packaged in a way that is accessible and relevant to most members of that community--will be ill prepared to deal with climate change moving forward.

Just as importantly, new media initiatives on climate change should not be a guessing game, they need to be based on research about what information the broader public needs about the issue and how that information can be structured in a way that is understandable, interesting, and personally meaningful.

I will have more on this topic in the upcoming post analyzing CNN's shift in form and focus for its science coverage. For New York-area readers, this is likely to be a topic of discussion at a panel I will be on in February at the American Museum of Natural History. Details below.

Reporting on Climate Change: The Media and Public Understanding

* Tuesday, February 10
* 6:30 pm
* Kaufmann Theater, first floor
* $15 ($13.50 Members, students, senior citizens)
* Code: EL021009

Join veteran environmental journalists Bud Ward, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media; Bill Blakemore, ABC News; Diane Hawkins-Cox, CNN; and Andrew Revkin, The New York Times; along with Matthew Nisbet, American University School of Communication, for this timely discussion on the roles of journalism and new media in the reporting of climate change. The shaping and reporting of scientific information is critical to our understanding global warming and its management. The program will be introduced by Michael Novacek, Senior VP and Provost of Science, AMNH.



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