The Future is Non-Profit Science and Enviro Journalism
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."
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.
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
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