Climate change; explaining the differences in reporting


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Why do journalists from the United States and Europe report in a different way about Climate change?

Differences in focus between US and NL
Influencing factors
Ideology and culture
Journalistic role conceptions
Sources and lobbying
Contributions of professionals

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Climate change; explaining the differences in reporting

  1. 1. Climate change<br />Explaining the differences in reporting <br />1<br />Case Study group 3: <br />Annika van Berkel, Mark Boukes, Judith Fennis, <br />Yasemin Smit and Peter Vossen<br />
  2. 2. 2<br />
  3. 3. Content<br /><ul><li>Differences in focus between US and NL
  4. 4. Statement
  5. 5. Influencing factors
  6. 6. Ideology and culture
  7. 7. Journalistic role conceptions
  8. 8. Sources and lobbying
  9. 9. Contributions of professionals
  10. 10. Conclusion</li></ul>3<br />
  11. 11. Differences in focus<br />4<br />(Brossard, Shanahan & McComas, 2004; Dirikx & Gelders, 2008; Rowlands, 2000; Van der Sluijs, Van Est & Riphagen, 2010)<br />
  12. 12. Statement<br /><ul><li>Reporting on climate change is different between countries.</li></ul> Causes of these differences are based on the following three influencing factors:<br /><ul><li>Ideology and culture of media institutions
  13. 13. Role conception of journalist
  14. 14. Use of sources and lobbying to journalists
  15. 15. In this presentations we give some examples of the differences of those factor between the US and the Netherlands</li></ul>5<br />
  16. 16. Ideology and culture<br />Media ideology influences interpretation of facts, selection of experts and counter-experts<br />Tensions between national media logic and transnational responsibility of climate change<br />Interplay between politics, media and public opinion (e.g. Kyoto protocol)<br />‘You can put the debate on a scale with climate sceptics on the one end and positivists on the other. If you solely let the critical sceptics speak and these opposed against alarming positivists, there will not be any room left for the big, nuancing space in between where most of the scientists are working’ (Paul Luttikhuis, about the controverce debate on climate change citation on his blog on<br />6<br />(Carvalho, 2006, 2007; Olausson, 2009) <br />
  17. 17. Ideology and culture<br />Media institutions<br />7<br /><ul><li>No real difference between Dutch newspapers
  18. 18. Visible differences between opinion magazines: Elsevier more skeptical compared to Vrij Nederland</li></ul>(Van der Sluijs et al., 2010) <br />
  19. 19. Ideology and culture<br />Countries<br /><ul><li>Kyoto protocol: established in 1997 as a supplement on the Climate Treaty. Regulates the reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases.
  20. 20. The US did not ratify the Treaty – Fear of damage to the American economy.
  21. 21. Scientific uncertainty and the nation’s political system widens the gap
  22. 22. Vested interest of petrochemical industries
  23. 23. The EU (and with that the Netherlands) has ratified the Treaty in 2002
  24. 24. European governments are less reticent than US</li></ul>8<br />(Archibald, 1999; Ward, 2009) <br />
  25. 25. Journalist role conceptions<br />Journalists biased in their reporting<br /><ul><li>Lack of confidence in scientific information is influential
  26. 26. Power struggle among different sectors of society that battle for control
  27. 27. Practice of ‘false balance’
  28. 28. Consequences: Biased coverage and created political space for the US government</li></ul>9<br />(Archibald, 1999; Ward, 2009; Boykoff & Boykoff, 2004) <br />
  29. 29. Journalist role conceptions<br />Norms of journalists are collectively formed<br />Norms are formed collectively as part of professional training<br />Norms of professional journalism lead to mass media that adversely affects interaction between science, policy and public<br />News production on global warming: many tacit facets and unarticulated assumptions<br />Example: an analysis of US prestige press coverage in 1988/2002.<br />6% of the articles showed dominant scepticism<br />10<br />(Boykoff & Boykoff, 2004, 2007)<br />
  30. 30. Journalist role conceptions<br />Differences in use of tone<br />The American press uses a more neutral of tone than European countries<br />The tone in Dutch articles is not similar to the US press<br />11<br />(Dirikx & Gelders, 2008; Van der Sluijs et al., 2010) <br />
  31. 31. Lobbying<br />Lobbying to journalists<br /><ul><li>No evidence for active lobbyism of neither companies nor non-governmental environment organization
  32. 32. Greenpeace campaigns: indirect media attention
  33. 33. Oil companies: try to influence journalists indirectly by green image marketing</li></ul>12<br />(Gueterbock, 2004)<br />
  34. 34. Lobbying<br />Lobbying in politics<br />Oil companies in the US invest in contacts and support of politicians<br />Politicians form a large group in the sources that are used in the press<br />Oil companies can have an indirect influence on coverage<br />Political lobbying is more accepted in the US compared to NL<br />US companies more resisting policies on climate changeEuropean companies are more willing to cooperate<br />Corporate culture reflects attitudes of its home countries inhabitants<br />13<br />(Rowlands, 2000; US PIRG Education Fund, 2004)<br />
  35. 35. ‘People interpret the climate change debate, based on what they want to see. Anti capitalists demand the end of an unrestrained economic growth, using the ‘climate problem’ as argument, whereas ecologist want the forests to be preserved better.’ <br />Science journalist Marcel Crok in his book ‘De staat van het klimaat’<br />14<br />Lobbying<br />
  36. 36. The use of sources<br /><ul><li>US: politicians and special interest groups most cited
  37. 37. 29% of citations in articles: business and interest groups
  38. 38. NL: more use of scientific sources
  39. 39. Used sources of 4 Dutch Newspapers (NRC Handelsblad, AD, Telegraaf and de Volkskrant)</li></ul>15<br />(Brossard et al.,2004; Trumbo, 1996; Van der Sluijs et al., 2010) <br />
  40. 40. If we look at the three influencing factors<br />Conclusions<br />Differences in culture between countries has influenced the way the climate debate is framed<br />The culture differences have also influenced the role of journalists, because the norms are formed collectively<br />Lobbying in the US is more accepted and open<br />16<br />
  41. 41. Reporting on climate change is different between the US and NL, but the common goal is the same:<br /><ul><li> “Nations have shown they can work together under a common roof, to reach consensus on a common cause. They have shown that consensus in a transparent and inclusive process can create opportunity for all” (Christine Figueres, UN secretary for environmental issues)
  42. 42. “The fight against climate change is one of the biggest battles in history. To win this fight we all need to do our share: governments, business, NGOs and the public. It must be a collective effort”(Hugo von Meijenfeldt, Dutch Climate Ambassador)</li></ul>17<br />
  43. 43. Questions<br />18<br />