The Media as Piñata

By Keith Kloor | June 17, 2011 1:02 pm

If there is one deeply held sentiment in the climate debate that is shared by bloggers and commentators of all stripes, it is this: journalists suck.

It’s a constant refrain at places like Climate Progress and WUWT. But really the sentiment is widespread in the climate blogosphere, so much so that an alien visiting from another planet would wonder how journalists are able to tie their shoes in the morning.

Climate scientist Judith Curry is the latest to join the chorus of media bashers:

Journalists for the most part have dropped the ball on the climate change issue, and the watchdog/accountability role has been ceded to the blogospheric auditors, notably Steve McIntyre.  There are very few mainstream journalists behaving in a true investigative way on the climate change issue.  The pointman just posted an interesting essay on this.

I went over to see what the pointman (who I had never heard of before) said, which is pretty well reflected in his headline:

The Death Of Journalism And The Irresistible Rise Of The Blogosphere

Still, he indulges in some golden age worship (mythological, I might add) that would make any J-school student’s heart ache for dem good old days:

In what now seems to be a bygone era, junior reporters had hammered into them by editors what were called the two golden rules. The first one is never believe a word from a government or any official spokesman. The second one is that when you’re handed a story on a plate by somebody, ask yourself what’s in it for them. At face value these rules may appear to be cynical but they were what kept the fourth estate from lapsing into a public relations organ of any and all vested interests.

The pointman’s nostalgic lament about this “bygone era” comes after his summation of the latest IPCC controversy that environmental writer Mark Lynas has triggered here and here. Because the mainstream media didn’t sniff this one out, the pointman concludes:

What does this all mean? Well actually it means independent journalism in the MSM is dead. What’s left is a thinly disguised PR mechanism for the establishment.

This broad brush tarring makes me nuts, as regular readers know. So I marched over to Judith Curry’s place and left a note expressing my dismay. (Actually, I stopped midway between my living room and the kitchen to let out a primal scream.) Here’s what I said, in part:

It is just this kind of ridiculous generalization that I have criticized Romm and others over, when they regularly complain about media failures on climate change.

Mainstream journalists do an outstanding job every day, as anyone who daily scans the WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, and many other papers would know. Often stories are lacking and require follow-up.

But to dismiss the MSM as dead is pure BS, and is a trope repeated ad nauseum by partisans on the left and right.

Yeah, that’s right, I can be just as tribal as you all.

Seriously, though, let’s get one thing straight: Sure, bloggers have become an important part of the media landscape and on balance, I think that’s a really good thing. But there is no replacement for the day-in, day-out reporting by professional journalists. None. Whatsoever.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Journalism
MORE ABOUT: Journalism, media
  • Mark Lynas

    I actually completely agree with you here… as a recovering journalist myself. I am always astonished how rapidly hacks can write up complex issues in incredibly short spaces of time and under highly demanding circumstances.

    Saying that bloggers have taken over is silly. What is really happening is that bloggers have the luxury of specialising in very specific areas (as I do) and therefore spotting things that your average journalist simply won’t. I also find critiques of the ‘mainstream media’ tiresome.

  • Jeff Norris

    Keith


    I originally posted this as a reply over a Judith’s place but since you have brought it up here I think it is appropriate. I don’t want to come across as a stalker.

    If you recall, you predicted that the original story would be revisited by reporters from the various media outlets who ran the press release story,to my knowledge as of today those reporters and outlets have not mentioned it. 
     http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2011/06/15/a-controversy-renewed/#comment-65058
    Is this not an example of the less than outstanding reporting by the MSM?
    Reuters recently ran this story 2 days before the controversy erupted which mentions the validity of the 80% scenario.  Perhaps someone should send them a press release so they know what is going on.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/13/us-climate-summit-ipcc-idUSTRE75C1SZ20110613

    I do acknowledge and commend Andy Revkin for his integrity on this issue.
    To be clear Andy’s article was in the Opinion section of the NY times the one by Mr.Kanter appeared in the Business/Energy as a hard news piece.

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings/ Zeke Hausfather

    Frankly, most of us bloggers wouldn’t want to replace journalists. Its far too much work with far too little pay :-p

  • EdG

    Keith wrote:

    “Mainstream journalists do an outstanding job every day, as anyone who daily scans the WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, and many other papers would know.”

    Seriously? I suppose Climategate wasn’t an important story then? They seem to have missed that one. And virtually everything else that was not convenient.

    Sorry but the MSM has become Pravdas and anyone depending on them for the full picture will remain ignorant and misinformed. Thus fewer people even bother to read the pap they print on this topic, except to see how it is being spun.

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    To add to Zeke’s comment: Most bloggers want to write opinion pieces that express their current point of view. They want to be pundits. They don’t want to do  beat or investigative reporting.
    I’ve never figured out how someone manages to get a paid job being a general-all-around comment on whatever-is-the-story-of-the-day pundit– but some people clearly get these gigs and we see them on all the “newsie-ish type” news stories.  (We also hear them on talk radio.)  There are tons of barely read bloggers who want that job.    A small fraction of bloggers do as good or better job than pundit-who-draw a pay check and who get readership.  This is making a difference in the news cycle.  I think on the balance, the blog impact is benefits the public, but I don’t think this should be taken to mean the mainstream media does a bad job.
     

  • sharper00

    The reporting of scientific topics in the media is almost always very poor. This isn’t particularly or singularly the fault of individual journalists or even media outlets but it’s the case nonetheless.

    If you’re a scientist or interested enough in a topic to understand the science behind it you’re going to end up being frustrated and disappointed by any media coverage that might relate to it.

    Journalists just don’t have the time to become experts on what they report hence it often boils down to “He said/she said”. This works fine in a lot of cases but fails badly on controversial issues and leads to incorrect and uninformed opinions getting undue weight while also being presented on the same level as scientific or expert opinion. There’s no incentive to report such issues “correctly” in any event since journalists and the media will get criticised no matter where in the spectrum of opinion they fall.

  • harrywr2

    Journalism was never as ‘pure’ as many would like to believe.
    What has changed is the number of available sources of information…so people are ‘more aware’ of the short comings of journalists.
    It wasn’t an unheard of practice 40 years ago to subscribe to two different newspapers in order that you get a more ‘balanced’ view as all journalists have bias and blindspots.
    Unfortunately, most cities today barely have a single newspaper without one foot in bankruptcy court never mind two.

     

  • Tom Fuller

    The best of blogging can be a resource for mainstream journalists, providing background and data for quick catch-up. The rest of the blogosphere is incredibly dependent upon the efforts of mainstream jounalists, as it provides the platform from which to launch rapid reaction efforts for the stimulating crisis du jour.

  • Jeff Norris

    Lucia(5)
    I like your analysis but do you think that it is possible that some journalist have the desire to jump into the opinion side also for the very same reasons you mentioned not to mention the book deals.  I think if you look closely many of the current Hard News journalists on the environment/politics have spent a few years as bloggers before getting promoted to the Big Time media outlets as a staff correspondent.
     

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Well said, Tom.

    Sometimes, bloggers are also paid close attention to by some very important people, sometimes too close.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Jeff (9):

    I’m pretty familiar with who the newspaper beat reporters are (covering both env and science), and I’m not aware of any in the U.S. who started out as bloggers before being promoted.

    Do you have some examples? Remember, we’re talking mainstream news media.

  • Menth

    I have created a little diagram depicting this phenomenon. Journalists often play the role of the center figure: http://bit.ly/mt6TdC

  • EdG

    Keith, I am rather surprised at your defense of the MSM’s reporting.

    On another tangent, Weinergate.

    In fact, when was the last time that the MSM broke a story that was ‘inconvenient’ to their feeders?

    The MSM is becoming more irrelevant and incredible by the day. On the topic of climate, while they go on, and on, and on, publicizing any little event that can be spun to support their AGW bias, they are muzzled when anything contrary appears. This pattern is too obvious to be ignored or, shall we say, ‘denied.’

    Your point about the lack of bloggers moving DOWN to become MSM parrots is rather pointless. Who needs anymore Anderson Coopers?

    As a blogger you ought to be happy that more people now look to the net for information. Like any media, best to look at as many sources as possible but at least on the net there is a wide range of them presenting a full spectrum of ideas and information, with links for the enquiring mind to probe deeper.

    So, keep up the good work. Your views and the topics you highlight are interesting.

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    Jeff Norris
    some journalist have the desire to jump into the opinion side also for the very same reasons
    Of course. Journalists are people.  I’m sure plenty of journalists are inclined toward expressing opinion. So are entire news agencies.  I haven’t attended any journalism courses, but I suspect quite a bit of training in journalism is to try to get people to distinguish the two and to adopt practices that try to minimize distorting stories with opinion.  That doesn’t mean opinion, personal interests or views never affect what is reported, what is investigated, which stories are dropped etc..

    Hard News journalists on the environment/politics have spent a few years as bloggers before getting promoted to the Big Time media outlets as a staff correspondent.
    Sure. Blogging is now a way to become visible and some bloggers ended up with paid gigs. Usually, if you assess what they write, it’s opinion/pundit stuff.

  • jeffn

    I spent 10 years as a beat reporter and went to J school. I agree that most reporters do a very good job on day to day stuff and it is incredibly difficult to take large document dumps and turn that into a story in a matter of hours.
    That said, there are two interesting aspects to this from a true media criticism point of view that I’d love to see you address, Keith:
    – pack mentality. Anyone in journalism has seen it: the rush to make a star out of an individual or event, followed quite often by the complete reversal- see Jessica Lynch, the poor fool of a guard at the Atlanta Olympics bombing, 3 Cups of Tea, etc etc ad nauseum. I think AGW (especially the rush to connect weather to climate) was an issue of pack journalism in the extreme aided and abetted by some politicized scientist/activists.
    2. There used to be very serious discussion within journalism about whether it was a good thing to create and maintain quasi-ideological  beats- the GLTB beat, the African-American beat, the environmental beat. On one hand, they were self-reinforcing (an environmental reporter will by definition seek stories from environmentalists and won’t have much access if they don’t toe the line) and on the other they were condescending- African-Americans aren’t actually monolithic either in their income, preferences or even politics. Should the IPCC have been covered by the enviro beat reporters, the govt beat, the business section or… ? To my mind, it started with the green beat folks finally getting an A1 story that turned into a pack mentality. Revkin hunts around in the swamps of “resource depletion” academics until he finds one with a sciency theory that the world will end without major green legislation and the next thing you know, 60 Minutes is doing standups in the arctic and there are Hollywood movies where a speech by Dick Cheney causes hurricanes and tornadoes.
    The thing about the pack- it usually ends badly for the designated star.
     

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    The thing about the pack- it usually ends badly for the designated star.”

    I’d say Judith Miller is a good example of that.

    Look, there is much truth to what you say about the hazards of pack reporting. I have said previously on this site numerous times that the WMD/run-nup to Iraq war reporting is one of the biggest stains on the journalism profession. Other examples abound.

    When it happens you just have to hope that the fever breaks sooner than later and the pack disperses.

  • Michael Larkin

    Journalists can be very good in certain areas. But very few of them are good at reporting science, if only because many of them don’t have science degrees. Put them together with scientists who are looking to promulgate pet theories, and you have a poisonous cocktail.

    IMO, the MSM, if not dead, is moribund when it comes to science reporting. This is to no small extent because it’s pusillanimous, ill-qualified, and bone idle.

  • RickA

    Michael #17:

    I am not sure if O’Reilly is a reporter, since he does opinion.  But his lack of science knowledge was pretty evident when he opined that tides was evidence of God (if I remember the story correctly), not appearing to understand they are created by the moon and the sun.

  • Matt B

    For science reporting I believe that the “journalist with a science degree” angle is overstated as a prereq for good science reporting. The biggest hurdle to good science reporting is getting beyond the image of scientists, in any scientific discipline, as wholesome searchers for the truth through the use of their Sherlock Holmsian-level intellects. For a sizable % of the public, the characters on “The Big Bang Theory” are no stereotypes, because they “know” that this is how scientists behave.

    It usually takes directly working in a science-related field to get beyond this stereotype. Unless a journalist can get beyond this popular image (an image in no small measure perpetuated by the scientific community), then they will have a hard time questioning individual scientists. And there is no doubt, it is easier to not question strong scientists. Many do not like being challenged, and can make a layman (science degree or not) feel very foolish, very fast.

    The significant hurdles faced by science reporters is a big reason why the “skeptic” movement has been led through the blogs. It’s asking too much of most journalists to confront strong scientists on their home court. But, many practicing scientists and engineers have wandered into this arena as curious spectators, and are sticking around as participants because they smell the stench of scientific BS in the air. This crew is much less susceptible to scientific bullying than journalists; many have seen this movie before & don’t like the what they see from the great eminences of climatology.
     

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    That O’Reilly bit about the tides was precious. I will treasure watching the Colbert spoof, along with some of my favorite Odd Couple episodes, when I’m (hopefully) ancient and on my deathbed.

  • Kendra

    For a number of years, I’ve been receiving “Yahoo Alerts” for some keywords related to various issues in science.
    It’s been quite amazing to see that the vast majority (dare I say as much as 95% if not more) are almost exactly the same and, when traced back (given the possibility), “science by press release” almost invariably turns out to be the source.

  • Jeff Norris

    Keith
    Not saying that they leave J school and go to blogging just that they spend time blogging while being a beat reporter in small markets.   I need to modify my original statement to some of Hard news journalists.  The reason is the habit of small market news journalist to write op eds and blog at the same time.  The wearing of different hats ( in different catgories)at the same time is difficult to keep track of .

    James Kanter who has very impressive educational background seems to have started out in a small market as a journalist, then blogged and reported for the IHT at the same time.  He was a colleague of Andy’s starting around 2008 and now is staff writer for the NY Times.  While being a blogger for the Times he was given an award in Europe for his journalistic writing.  Yes I know the Times owns IHT.

    He gave some interesting advice for business journalist new to climate change in 2008

    Try and have an expert at a local university or a leading environmental consultancy talk you through the international political landscape, and then try to have them relate what they’ve described to what is going on in your country, city, or state.” He said green investment specialists, available in most major cities, can be excellent sources.

    He suggested that reporters also be familiar with the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. “At least skim it. You will pick up a good understanding of why many economists believe it’s less costly to invest in cutting greenhouse gases now rather than wait until the signs of climate change are more obvious or economically threatening
     “The Business of Green,” a blog published by the International Herald Tribune and co-edited by James Kanter
    http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2008/05/climate-change-on-banking-and-financial-beats/
    Interesting that James or anyone at the blog he co edits   has not mentioned the current controversy.

  • Alexander Harvey

    Were it a bank, WGIII would be the derivitives arm, and their reports its toxic assets. Such is the IPCC we have come to know.

    In a sane world WGI would be hived of and sold to an angel, leaving the IPCC with WGII to work on, chastened by the stench coming from the corner were WGIII slowly turns its septic contents to H2S and goo.

    Steve McIntyres contributions are always looked forward to, but I think it be incautious to confuse his efforts and that of the blogs with journalism. In journalistic terms it may have been untimely ripped from its matrix. How much richer it might have been if Teske and Pachauri, and also Edenhofer, Petersen and perhaps Lynas had revealed their thoughts in quotable form prior to the original insight being dropped onto the internet.

    If the bloogers think they kill off journalism they might consider from whom the meals on which they dined so well did come, and whether it be their benefactors carcass they pick over, and whence their next meal.
    Alex

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    It is foolish not to admit a fundamental mismatch.
    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/06/kultutkampf.html

    Sharper gets it.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    “But there is no replacement for the day-in, day-out reporting by professional journalists. None. Whatsoever.”

    That would appear to depend on the beat. I have seen nothing in the conventional press about the sunspot hiatus story remotely as good as Phil Plait’s blog entry, for instance.

    Phil is a “paid blogger” though, which sort of shades into “columnist”. I am not sure the distinction is worthwhile or meaningful.

  • kdk33

    MT,

    In my endeavour to be open minded, I read Phil’s blog.  As an aside, I believe you are correct that the sunspot story is overblown (WUWT an offender of note).

    OTOH, phil’s post are punctuated with name-calling (denier, denier, denier).  He (purposefully?) conflates GW with AGW.  The article you directly link sets up, then attacks, a silly strawman: that “deniers” are claiming a coming new ice age – the only “ice age” I’ve seen folks refer to is the LIA, which ain’t the same thing.  And he makes the common error of believing that several weak arguments add up to a strong argument.

    I did find him interesting, and I might visit his blog again (’cause I’m open minded).  But, Journalism?  I think not.  But I never went to J-school.

  • Doug Allen

    You say, “Mainstream journalists do an outstanding job every day, as anyone who daily scans the WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, and many other papers would know.””  I wish it were true.  As a center left, life-long conservationist, teacher,and environmental educator (and luke-warmer these past 4 years), I try to let my liberal friends know what’s happening in climate science.  Those who read only the NYT and Washington Post are incredulous and call me a denier!  My interest in climate goes back to age 11, 1954, when I asked for and received from grandparents, as my Christmas present, the Commerce Department’s daily weather map subscription.  After 50 years of staying informed about wether and climate and saw the Hockey Stick, I immediately knew it didn’t pass the smell test and became an hour-a-day student of the climate controversy, going on 4+ years.  Judith Curry is correct about investigative reporting.  My father was a conservative and a journalist with Newsweek.  You would never have known he was a conservative from the articles he wrote; he must be rolling over in his grave at today’s news as entertainment and propaganda. 

  • Ed Forbes

    LoL….ah yes…the good old days of responsible reporting as seen by such as William Randolph Hearst

    you know… one of many who  “routinely invented sensational stories, faked interviews, ran phony pictures and distorted real events.”

    Humm…you know….this does seem familiar to MSM climate reporting. I guess we ARE in the “good old days” !!!

  • Doug Allen

    Ed Forbes
    Yes, there was always “yellow journalism”- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism
    Hearst was part of it!

    However, there was a time when most members of the 4th estate were respected and deserved respect.  There also has been a history of serious and well informed investigative reporting- see muckrakers for some early examples- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muckraker  How much serious and well informed MSM  investigative reporting have we seen regarding the IPCC and AGW? Most of it now occurs on the blogs.  Perhaps climate change/global warming is too politicized for fair-minded, investigative reporting.  I hope not.

  • http://www.veteransfreedomfarm.org steven mosher

    MT. thanks for the link.
    If he cleaned up the article a bit, it would be an excellent piece.
     

  • http://climateaudit.org Steve McIntyre

    You say- ‘If there is one deeply held sentiment in the climate debate that is shared by bloggers and commentators of all stripes, it is this: journalists suck.”

    This is not an opinion that I’ve ever expressed nor is it one that I think.

    In an age of declining revenue and market share, I don’t see how people can reasonably expect traditional newspapers to fund highly specialized commentary on narrow-cast topics.  One of the remarkable aspects of the blogosphere in this period of its existence is that topics that are too specialized for regular coverage in a general newspaper can attract surprisingly large audiences on a worldwide basis.  The popularity of climate blogs is evidence of that.

    It is evident that some reporters keep an eye on the more prominent blogs and will cover stories that they believe of more general interest. What’s wrong with that?  I don’t ‘blame’ the reporter for not coming up with the story in the first place. Surely they’ve done their job if they report it, credit the origin and do appropriate crosschecking.

    In addition, it seems to me that reporters accept academic press releases far less credulously than they did a couple of years ago and that seems like an improvement to me.
     

  • Michael Hauber

    Journalists are very good at their job.  If they weren’t, they would lose their jobs and be replaced.  Its just that the journalist job is not what we’d like to be, and is certainly not a tireless search for truth and justice.  The job of the journalist is to be a source of stories that people will keep returning to for more.  Exactly what mix of truth(appearance of truth), entertainment, confirmation of prior prejudice and fanning of outrage is best suited to achieving this is demonstrated by the media outlets with the largest audience.

    Blogs are no different in that a good blog attracts an audience, and a poor blog does not.  From what I can see the blogs with the highest readership tend to tell stories in pretty much the same way as the most successful media outlets.  However blogs are cheap to run, and can cast a global net hunting for an audience.  So it suddenly becomes viable for a blog to successfully target a wide variety of unusual and specialised audiences.  Whether this audience is a collection of nutcases looking for confirmation of a conspiracy or a group of sky watchers who want to share nth degree detail of what is visible in teh night sky with a high enough power telescope does not matter.

  • Jack Hughes

    Pointman did a fab write-up on why the Climategate leak was an inside job:
    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/why-climategate-was-not-a-computer-hack/

  • albrecht
  • http://underthebanyan.wordpress.com/ Mike

    Hi Keith
    The Climate Change Media Partnership has just published a 4-page policy brief on why the media matters in a warming world.
    It is aimed at policymakers in developing nations, but relevant to other countries too.
     

  • Dave H

    What a load of biased fantasising that “pointman” stuff is.

    eg:

    > Such access could have been obtained legally by an internal party in the normal course of their duties or by an external party, who had no legal right to the material.

    Or, you know, *illegally* by an internal party. An IT admin with easy access to the systems but no legal right to individuals email contents springs to mind.

    Then, paragraph upon paragraph of hypothetical “how a hack might have been achieved” stuff, leading up to:

    > Anyone who thinks all of the above effort was expended to obtain apparently innocuous material from an obscure unit of an equally academically obscure university, needs an introduction to William of Occam’s razor.

    Ah. So after all that, it’s argument from incredulity? Ok then.

    In the next piece:

    > Notice also, that the content was not edited and the damning emails were left in context ““ the work of a fair-minded individual.

    Oh yes, very fair. Not just trawling for the most (supposedly) damaging items they could find and cutting out the chaff, then.

    > Gavin Schmidt has been peddling some bollocks about an attempt to upload the zip to RealClimate but I find it hard to believe. Why try to upload it to a pathologically pro AGW website, especially one whose founders appear in the emails?

    Again, biased argument from incredulity. I sense a theme. Also a lack of imagination – just causing maximum embarassment leaps immediately to mind for starters.

    > […] Unus is probably in the middle to late twenties. Also, when you’re older, married, mortgaged with a few kids, you simply don’t risk them all and your livelihood on “matters of principle”.

    Or, perhaps, late middle-aged (to fit with the predominant demographic for the vocal politically anti-AGW individual, and the somewhat parochial attempt at sending the info to the BBC), disgruntled career-wise, divorced (probably over obsessive conspiracy theorising) etc. See, we can all make stuff up.

    > Take my word for it or take the time to check out some of the analysis done, the code is ten times more damning then the emails.

    Hah. No it’s not – the code is not even slightly damning. Nice try though.

  • Jeff Norris

    @35 Dr. Mike Shanahan author of the report and media contact for the IIED

    Don’t you feel a little disingenuous by not highlighting that you are the author of the report?  After reading the report I can’t help feel the title should be How Governments Can Corrupt the Media for Climate Change.  

  • albrecht

    @Jeff, You got to be joking. Is he really the author?

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Jeff,

    Your suggestion strikes me as unwarranted. Anyone who clicks on the link can deduce pretty easily who the author is. I don’t see Mike trying to hide his involvement.

    Also, his report makes the case that climate change is under-reported in the global south, and why there should be more localized coverage. I don’t have any problem with that, so long as the reporters don’t simplistically attempt to shoehorn every disaster into the climate change box.

  • albrecht

    Considering the whole thing is about conflicts of interest you would think mike would have said something.

  • Jeff Norris

    Keith

    I don’t think it is a matter of hiding his involvement but more of an issue of full disclosure.  Other commenter’s   like Jonathan and David Ropeik usually state their connection to a reference.   I did not suspect Dr. Shanahan was the author until I got to the very bottom of the report.  I then had to go to”Mike’s” web site and dig around there to confirm.

    Regarding the report do you feel uncomfortable about the lack of demand /suggestion of journalistic investigation or Freedom of the Press?  I maybe wrong but the only reference to an independent press was to a Bangladesh report.

    Crucially, it recognises that journalists are not there just to amplify government views, but also to promote public debate and act as watchdogs
     
     
      At least 42 journalists were tortured and 20 others were given death threats in April of the current year according to the Bangeldesh press Freedom Foundation.
     

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Jeff,

    I’m not understanding what your complaint is with the report. At a very basic level, all it its trying to do is convey is the importance of journalism to governments/policymakers in the developing world.

  • Jeff Norris

    Keith
    Maybe because of my cynical outlook but if journalism is so important to governments and policy makers of the developing world why little mention of “Freedom of the Press” Does Mike not value it as a way to inform leaders and ultimately the Public.
    Keith IMHO the report suggests allowing reporters to leave the country in order to report on Climate Change, training reporters on how to report Climate Change, partnering with journalist in policy decisions.  It feels like a guide to corrupt the press in order to sell climate change to their readers.

       Taking a breath, maybe I am overreacting.  I get excited about what I see as  selective  activism.  Averting your eyes to basic human rights and good governance issues in order get your agenda pushed to the front makes me grind my teeth.

     

  • http://underthebanyan.wordpress.com/ Mike

    The reason I didn’t declare that I was the author was simply that I didn’t want to claim excess credit for a report that was published by a partnership between three independent organisations. Hence I mentioned the partnership itself instead.
    There was no sinister intent.
    At only 4-pages in length, there was not space to say everything it could have said. It is a report about climate change journalism, not a report about freedom of the press. Other people have published other reports on that important issue.

  • Jeff Norris

    @Mike 44
    Truthfully I never thought that you had any sinister intentions by your post.  Would it have killed you to have written?
     The Climate Change Media Partnership has just published our 4-page policy brief on why the media matters in a warming world. 

    You have to admit the irony since the dust up includes CoI and full disclosure issues.
    WRT the report how can you say it was about journalism when you fail to highlight what most feel are the basic tenets of the profession.  You make no mention of freedom of the press, investigation, or fact checking.  Prove me wrong cite in your paper where you and your group highlight the Principles of Journalism as described by Pew.  http://www.journalism.org/resources/principles/
     Dr. the paper was target at “policy makers” in the Third World not normally an area where the Milk of human kindness flows.  Your key messages talk on motivating the masses for Climate Change, high quality and better media coverage is meaningless without a definition or standard of quality (see principles by Pew).
    Your solution is to have the Governments train journalist on how to report and help shape policy decisions, again see pew principles especially the ones about independence of power.

    I am getting a little warm, but I don’ t understand how you and your group can hold the Bangladeshi Gov up as an example of how to treat the press with any knowledge of  their past and current practices wrt the media. 

  • Jeff Norris

    Tom Fuller if you show up mouthing platitudes about incremental changes I will probably blow a gasket. :)

  • Faustino

    50 years ago I was a boy reporter on UK regional and national newspapers and Canadian commercial radio.  I decided not to pursue a profession in journalism as I found it too dishonest – never mind the facts, a good story is the goal.  (There were exceptions, e.g. the Sunday Times Insight group in the ’60s.) I’ve since worked mainly as a government economic policy adviser (UK, Australia, Queensland), while I’ve found many people of high integrity in this field, dedicated to the public interest and trying to show the merits and demerits of alternative policies rather than running an agenda, overall I’ve found (increasingly) that many senior “public servants” and politicians are more concerned with self-interest (the Hawke government era was a rare period of good intention and policy).  It seems to me that the blogworld in recent years has provided much more of a check on the self-serving and dishonest than has the MSM, the main exception in Australia being The Australian, a much-vilified Murdoch newspaper which is often the only source of coverage on many significant issues and which includes a wide range of opinion, including articles which go against the editorial line.  My government experience has left me very strongly in favour of small government under intense scrutiny, and much of that scrutiny now comes from blogs.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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