Letter: Look for climate journalism outside the (Europe & U.S.) box
Jan. 4, 2012
To the Editor:
I enjoyed your roundup of 2011 coverage on climate change (Climate coverage down again in 2011, Jan. 3, 2012). It is a useful and important piece.
However, there is more to the story.
As anyone who has spent time at the past two United Nations talks can attest, reporters from developing and non-English-speaking countries are making up an increasingly larger share of the press room. As a North American reporter in Durban and Cancun, I felt pretty lonely.
Most media surveys don't look at journalism in India, China, Brazil, Mexico or Africa, where coverage of the issue has recently – and rapidly – increased. Having been lucky to travel to many of these places, I'm learning that some of the best coverage on climate is now coming from outside of Europe and North America.
Inter Press Service offers an example of this reporting bloom. IPS is a nonprofit news agency, but unfortunately its articles are not picked up in many surveys. My rough count finds the service published more than 200 articles in English on climate in 2011. I probably wrote 40 to 50 climate pieces myself, including at least a dozen from the UN climate meeting Durban a month ago.
In fact, IPS published a special daily package throughout the two-week Durban conference, featuring anywhere from 10 to 14 original articles every day, for 104 articles total. IPS is not just online, either: It published a daily 12-page newspaper insert for the last four days of the conference in The New Age, one of the big South African dallies.
That's a tremendously rich and deep look at climate change. I doubt any other news agency covered the Durban talks with such energy and variety.
I'm just a freelancer, and IPS just happens to be one of my main outlets. But it is interesting to note they are a non-profit news agency. Frankly, without IPS, DailyClimate.org and many other non-profit new services, there would be little coverage of climate change.
What does that say?
Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada
Photo of the newsroom at the 2009 UN climate talks in Copenhagen by Douglas Fischer/DailyClimate.org
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