Creating a Vision and Structure for Change
The Project for Improved Environmental Coverage has convened news professionals from across the country to develop a vision with goals and strategies that address this important issue. Now we are working to raise awareness and garner support for this vision from news organizations around the world. Find it here.
Four specific solutions to improving environmental coverage, which are embedded in the vision, are:
- Integrate the environmental angle into other stories and make that connection explicit. The environment affects or is affected by many areas of public interest including the economy, health, social issues and national security. Illuminating these connections dispels the belief that the environment can be separated from other issues or simply ignored.
- Make environmental stories appealing to a larger cross section of society. The technical or scientific nature of some environmental stories challenges understanding. Making the content accessible by relating it to other issues and reporting with clarity overcomes these barriers.
- Focus more on solutions. Including potential solutions makes environmental news stories less intimidating and more useful. Reporting them adds to the momentum for solving the environmental challenges we face.
- Increase the visibility of environmental stories. Limiting environmental stories to a special section or program suggests that the environment is a special interest rather than a public concern. This limits the likelihood of the consumption of important news. In fact, stories with an environmental focus comprise just 1 percent of the top stories, according to the Pew Center. Featuring environment-related headlines on front or home pages or as one of the top stories of a broadcast gives them greater visibility and helps to increase public awareness.
In addition to these solutions, utilizing the already existing environmental newswires allows news organizations to discover environmental news quickly, and inexpensively.
Finally, the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) is a tremendous resource for journalists and journalism organzatins. SEJ is the only North-American membership association of professional journalists dedicated to more and better coverage of environment-related issues. SEJ’s mission is to strengthen the quality, reach and viability of journalism across all media to advance public understanding of environmental issues.