February 28, 2007
GCRIO Program Overview
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 12, NUMBER 3, MARCH 1999
CLIMATE MEDIA COVERAGE
Climate Whispers: Media Communication about Climate Change, A.
Henderson-Sellers,Climatic Change 40, 421-456 (1998).
A news release on tropical-cyclone intensity and climate change was
issued through a service bureau and produced a broad response in
Australian and Asian media outlets. Media coverage was comprehensively
tracked and compared with the original information with often disarming
results. Analysis indicated that balanced scientific stories are difficult
to disseminate, poor press releases are serious handicaps, the media often
do not check with their sources, and quote marks mean more in the mass
media than in the scientific literature. Lessons learned were: (1) never
judge colleagues by reports attributed to them by the media, (2)
communicating science does not translate into communicating with the
public, (3) reporters will slant a story to the interests of their
readers, (4) public-relations companies are not to be selected without
Is Strange Weather in the Air? A Study of U.S. National Network News
Coverage of Extreme Weather Events, Sheldon Ungar,Climatic
Change 40, 133-150 (1999).
The Vanderbilt University Television News Archives for 1965 to 1996 were
studied for coverage of heat waves, droughts, hurricanes, and floods.
Increased coverage was observed, especially since 1988; but different
extreme events do not share equal increases in coverage. Droughts enjoyed
twice the attention of heat waves. Moreover, coverage of extreme events
did not translate into greater coverage of climate change, and the
coverage of extreme events extended largely to U.S. occurrences, with
foreign extreme weather and disasters getting little attention.
Guide to Publishers
Index of Abbreviations