Media reporting on environmental issues Essay


So far, several surveies have focused on the function of mass media in raising consciousness on environmental issues ( Jukneviciute L et al. , 2011 ; Boycoff M.T. , 2009 ) while others focused on media coverage in different countries- individual instances or comparative surveies ( Kostarella I et al. , 2013 ; Schmidt.A et al. , 2013 ; Sampei Y, Aoyagi-Usui M. , 2009 ) . Researchers besides used quantitative or qualitative content analysis where they analyzed newspapers, telecasting coverage of environmental issues over a period of clip ( Sampei Y, Aoyagi-Usui M. , 2009 ; Batta E.H. , et al. , 2013 ; Sadath.N. , et al. , 2013 ; Boycoff M.T. , 2007 ; Boycoff M.T. , Boycoff J.M. , 2007 ) . Previous surveies have besides used studies ( Halder P. , et al. , 2011 ; Sampei Y, Aoyagi-Usui M. , 2009 ) , structured questionnaire ( Kostarella I et al. , 2013 ) .

Channelss to circulate information

Today, there are assorted agencies through which media carry information to different portion of the planetary immediately. The consequences of the survey ( Kosterella.I et al, 2013 ) shown that the most efficient channels to circulate environmental intelligence harmonizing to editors are the Internet, environmental docudramas, exhibitions, articles in specialised & A ; day-to-day imperativeness. However they noted that environmental editors do non believe that Television and wireless treatments plans between specializers and the audience are effectual. On the other manus, polls have stated that Television and day-to-day newspapers are the chief beginnings of information in “developed” states ( Undertaking for Excellence in Journalism 2006 cited in Boycoff M.T & A ; Timmons R.J.,2007 ) . Here, we will concentrate on media coverage in the print imperativeness linked to environmental protection.


“Media frames are the manner intelligence media is constructed, organised or presented, underscoring some facets while excepting or deemphasizing others ( Gitlin, 1980 cited in Voyer.M et al. , 2013, p.2 ) .” Framing besides imply “Selecting and foregrounding some aspects of events or issues, and doing connexions among them so as to advance a peculiar reading, rating and/or solution… ( Entman, 2004 cited in Voyer. M et al. , 2013, p.2 ) .” We may take the illustration of the lensman who is concentrating his camera lens on merely one facet of a landscape and excepting his attending off from other parts.

Agenda Puting

The Mediaroom sets the docket of the twenty-four hours that is they decide which issues should be prioritized. Media influence people by giving them subjects to believe about and state them about what they should believe. ( Holliman. R, 2004 cited in Halder.P et Al, 2011 ) It directs the attending of the populace to the issues they consider as of import by stating them what to believe about. Thus, media play a important function in the building of environmental issues and how these jobs are perceived by the general populace. ( Kosteralla. I et al, 2013, p.1 ) It shows that the media play a function in showing the earnestness of environmental jobs and they can besides inform the populace, municipalities, territory councils on the steps they can follow to cut down pollution. “Mass media have given voice to the environment itself by jointing environmental alteration in peculiar ways, via claims shapers or authorized definers ( Boycoff M.T, 2009, p.434 ) .” Indeed, media “voice” has power to link different pieces of the mystifier: scientific discipline, policy and the citizens.

Functions of media

Mass media whether traditional or new signifiers are important elements which have of import functions that are to raise consciousness and inform people. Mass media transcends geographical divisions and it has an impact on a big figure of people in a short span of clip. Media conveying the outside universe into our places and into our heads.

  • Educate and Empower

Media has an unbelievable power to educate, empower people about peculiar issues. Boycoff M.T. , and Boycoff J.M. , ( 2007 ) declared that media coverage of clime alteration is non merely a mere combination of newspapers articles and telecasting sections but it is more about a relationship between scientists, policy shapers and the populace.

  • Offers ways of thought

Adding to that with its influential power, media offers beliefs, ways of thought and values ( Meisner, M, 2000, p.37 ) . It demonstrates that media reflects world to the citizens and explains, denounces issues in the society. Media besides help to convey about a civilization alteration and to instill environmental consciousness attitude to the citizens.

Furthermore, it may assist to pull and retain a big support from the audience- who are possible histrions of societal alteration. We may reason that an single stuck in the traffic jam while listening to “reportage” on the wireless may be informed on the construct “le tri diethylstilbestrols dechets” . Therefore harmonizing to Boycoff M.T ( 2009, p.435 ) media has the power to alter public sentiment. Besides, media reinforce and trip existing sentiments. We agree on the fact that media can lend to alter single perceptual experiences and concern for action. As cited by Halder. P et Al ( 2011 ) , Yin J ( 1999 ) adds that extended media airing can besides assist to make new sentiments. On the instance of environmental protection, media can sensitise people that they have power to alter their society and salvage their environment.

  • Media: A Forum

Media is recognized as being the 4th Estate which offers a forum for arguments therefore stressing its importance in a democratic society. As discussed by Coronel S.S, democracy involves the engagement and deduction of citizens, “media should maintain citizens engaged in the concern of administration by informing, educating and mobilising the populace. ( Coronel S.S, p.1 ) ” This construct of forum implies the fact that mass media is a infinite where people can keep conversation, have replies to their inquiries on environmental protection.

  • Media: Policymaking

Media coverage is indispensable for a job to come in the public sphere or political discourse ( Dispensa J.M. , Brulle R.J. , 2003, p.79 ) . Environmental organisations should utilize this tool efficaciously to hike the environmental motion and besides to educate more persons about the most alarming environmental issues. Indeed, surveies have reported that the more environmental issues were covered by mass media, the more people get engaged in environmental protection and saving. The research findings of Jukneviciute.L et Al ( 2011 ) found that in Sweden where there is extended media coverage of environmental subjects therefore environmental consciousness is high and people are environmentally active. Compared to Sweden, they concluded that in Lithuania environmental issues are based on the local degree and that environmental activism is low. The research workers recommended that in order to influence and educate more citizens, they should utilize all media channels available as traditional media dominate in Lithuania. In add-on, harmonizing to the Undertaking for Improved Environmental Coverage ( PIEC ) , environmental coverage is dependent on many factors: quality of coverage, measure and a higher visibleness in newspapers. It is undeniable that media industries have a alone privilege in increasing consciousness among the citizens but it should go their precedence.

On the other manus, Kalof.L argued that it is non clear that mass media encourage action but it is certain that it plays an of import function in the societal building of environmental concern. Furthermore possibly environmental articles do non hold a large impact on direct policymaking but it is undeniable that it made people cognizant of the state of affairs of our environment ( Bavadam. L. , 2010, p.3 ) . However, Boycoff M.T ( 2007, p.471 ) declares that media coverage plays an of import function in making chances for clime policy execution.

Media coverage

In their survey, Sampei Y, Aoyagi-Usui M, ( 2009 ) focused on the alterations in the coverage of environmental issues, the displacement in citizens’ consciousness in clip and the nexus between the two. They noted that the figure of front pages articles covering planetary heating and the sum sum of articles on planetary heating influenced public involvement for this issue and besides for planetary environmental issues. Their findings suggest that media may play a function in raising consciousness but it did non last a long clip. They besides add that the media docket is frequently triggered with other interrupting intelligence refering political relations, economic system, concern ( see besides Sampei Y, Aoyagi-Usui M. , 2009 ) . The journalist is the gatekeeper and he/she determines which information is newsworthy harmonizing to specific factors: publically recognized, of import, interesting ( Dispensa J.M. , Brulle R.J. , 2003, p.81 ) . Environmental intelligence normally does non hold all these characteristics as a consequence they automatically fall into the class of soft intelligence ( Kosteralla.I et al. , 2013 ) . It demonstrates that environmental issues can be discussed on a long-time footing and are covered when there is nil pressing and newsworthy. For case, harmonizing to a national canvass commissioned by the Undertaking for Improved Environmental Coverage ( PIEC ) in 2012 found that 79 % of Americans think that intelligence coverage on the environment should be improved.

Loopholes in media coverage

  • Reasons for low visibleness of environmental intelligence

The research of Kostarella.I et Al ( 2013 ) shows that harmonizing to environmental editors, environmental intelligence does non involvement many readers and that there is a deficiency of journalistic apprehension and experience on these issues. The editors besides believed that there is a low visibleness of environmental intelligence in the imperativeness for assorted grounds: “it is deadening, hard to understand, it creates pessimism, it does non organize portion of the day-to-day jobs of the citizens, is in struggle with the involvements of politicians and large companies who exert force per unit area in order to disregard the issues… ( p.403 ) ” The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism has found that amusement headlines get over three times more coverage than environmental issues in national intelligence organisations. One of the aims of our survey is to happen the jobs, troubles which exist in environmental coverage and what can be done in the hereafter.

  • Use of scientific vocabulary

The criticality of clime alteration and environmental issues are really good underlined by many scientific studies and surveies. These consequences are normally encrypted in a professional linguistic communication with a scientific vocabulary and it demands “a specialised manner of knowledge.” ( Boycoff M.T & A ; Boycoff J.M, 2007, p.3 ; see besides Ungar.S, 2000, p.9 ) . As a consequence these scientific findings need to be decoded and be accessible to the populace. The public rely on the media to place, construe ( Schoenfeld et al. , 1979, Spector and Kitsuse, 1977 cited by Boycoff M.T & A ; Boycoff J.M, 2007, p.3 ) and translate environmental issues raised by these studies and surveies. The purpose is to capture the attending of the targeted audience and to show the issue in a signifier which is familiar to them. Harmonizing to UNESCO, it is non necessary that the journalists are environmental experts because they would be given to utilize proficient words. They explained that the journalists should inform themselves on the topic nevertheless they do non necessitate to be environmental specializer to describe events on these issues. Boycoff M.T. , and Roberts J.T. , ( 2007, p.8 ) explained that the functions of journalists have changed with clip that is from circulating information to one of educating people. We can non deny the fact that environmental issues are complex so it is a job for journalists who have a limited or no scientific cognition and when they must besides pull off the clip frame.

  • Standards for newsworthiness

Besides, the other features which determine newsworthiness are human narratives, sensationalism, images, play, novelty… ( Gavin N.T. , 2009, p.771 ) These features make mention to first-order journalistic norms as they are the chief influence while choosing intelligence and showing the content of intelligence narratives ( Boycoff M.T and Boycoff J.M. , 2007 ; Boycoff M.T. , Roberts J.T. , ) . The scientific vocabulary of environmental intelligence does non assist in doing the intelligence appealing. ( Ungar, 2000 cited in Boycoff M.T. , Roberts J.T. , ) However, the intelligence is frequently presented in a dramatized or sensationalized manner where it becomes a “form of clime erotica instead than a constructive message.” ( Ereaut & A ; Segnit, 2006 cited in Boycoff M.T. , & A ; Boycoff J.M, 2007, p.3 ) Brossard. D et Al ( 2000, p.10 ) argue that the intelligence should supply this dosage of exhilaration to capture the public attending.

  • Single-case narratives influence media attending

The hurricane Katrina in USA has caused a extremum in media coverage therefore demoing that environmental conditions, natural catastrophes can act upon media attending to these issues. ( Boycoff M.T. , 2007 ; Lyytimaki.J & A ; Tapio.P, 2009 ; Gavin N.T. , 2009 ) Environmental intelligence does non suit in the frame already set by media suites. Smith ( 2005 ) argued in Young. N & A ; Dugas. E ( 2011, p.4 ) that the environmental issues which do non enable journalists to state a narrative “have great trouble to interrupt into the intelligence cycle.” On the other manus, Gavin N.T explained that “honest journalists” have to try to associate weather issues to climate alteration in a peculiar manner that will mobilise citizens and besides urge politicians to take actions ( p.772, 2009 ) . Here we assume that the trouble is that editors, journalists should non wait for natural calamities to cover environmental intelligence as a deficiency of consideration to the environment has led to irreversible harm such as the hole in the ozone bed, the nursery effect…

  • Be “Green”

OMS indicates that each twelvemonth 800 000 individuals died because of atmospheric pollution ( 65 % in Asiatic “developing” states ) . Yet, there are still loopholes in the methods used by media to make the people. Boycoff.M and Monbirt.G ( 2009 ) both agree that media coverage should non concentrate on this facet of ingestion for case purchasing eco-shampoo, eco-light bulb or purchasing intercrossed auto therefore advancing eco-consumerism is the new mark of advertizers. Although these allow people to prosecute themselves with this issue, they argued that media should besides give to the citizens a list of things they should non purchase to be greener. Boycoff.M and Monbirt.G ( 2009 ) are certainly right about this fact because today we can witness that “be green” is similar to be fashion-victim ( stylish ) . Harmonizing to Agarwal, N. , & A ; Narain, ( 1991 ) , “Those who talk about planetary heating should concentrate on what ought to be done at home.” To be “green” is about taking pro-environmental actions like non fouling our environment, non taking the auto for short distances and largely utilizing renewable energies…