Letters to the Editor: Why climate journalism needs to give readers a reason to hope
I read with great interest the letters to the editor published Sunday, Oct. 16, that were written by residents of California’s Mendocino County about the upcoming COP23 (the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in Chile and the potential for local farmers to be displaced by the city of Los Angeles.
As a climate reporter, I have covered more than 15 countries and watched as climate journalism has become increasingly important to the media and to readers. During my time covering climate, I have worked with many journalists, including from China, India and Brazil.
I have been amazed by the difference in climate journalism — the quantity and quality — between countries and regions. It is especially striking in developing countries, like China, India and Brazil, where I have worked with journalists from the same country, covering the same topic and reporting the same news, and yet have had widely differing responses to it.
In Brazil, for example, I have witnessed an increasing concern over the environment and with the future of life, while in China, I have written stories about corruption, poor health and low economic growth.
Climate journalism, in the form we know it in the U.S., is a global media phenomenon. It has also become more interactive and more personal as well as more difficult to predict with certain countries like China. And we in the U.S. are left to make our own decisions, to do our own coverage and, perhaps most importantly, to choose our own media — for example, when some journalists cover Trump and his administration, while others cover climate change.
But more than anything else, these countries tell us an important story about their future and it is that story where we need to aim our efforts next year.
CLIMATE JOURNALISM IN THE UNITED STATES
My job is to tell climate journalism stories — about climate science, about the future of agriculture for example, and about the effects of climate change on the economy.
I have watched our government become increasingly responsive to the media, to the truth and to citizens. And as a result, climate journalists in the U.S. have been increasingly needed, with consequences for the media ecosystem as a whole, I believe.