IFJ Global Survey on Climate Reporting: More dedicated coverage and training needed

The media are a long way from providing adequate coverage of the severity of the climate crisis, while journalists need more training to improve their reporting, a new International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) global survey has revealed.

The IFJ has urged media, journalists and unions to take a stronger lead in stimulating the debate and action around climate change.

Results of the global survey show that a big majority of journalists (over 81%) are “very concerned” about climate change. However, only one in four believe the media in their country is doing an adequate job of covering the climate crisis.

Half of respondents said their own news organisation does not dedicate special coverage to climate change. Less than 6% claim they have had access to dedicated training, while less than 5% have a department dedicated to reporting on climate change.

While the survey shows that 54% of journalists say at least some media in their country have special reporting on climate change the figures vary from region to region, with European media providing the most dedicated coverage.

Journalists’ unions must step up

While unions are increasingly discussing climate change issues respondents felt their own unions still had significant room for improvement with almost half (46%) saying their union had no policy on climate change.

Among those unions who had adopted policies or organised activities designed to raise the profile of climate change issues or build members professional skills the main actions were to

  • Develop recommendations and guidelines for journalists covering the climate crisis, 
  • Provide training for members on climate issues 
  • Adapt the pricing of sponsors’ memberships according to their environmental policy 
  • Implement measures to reduce the organization’s footprint.

Tasks for the IFJ Working Group on Climate

Journalists surveyed asked the IFJ Climate Action Team to prioritize:

  • Training for journalists on covering the climate crisis
  • Developing best practices for journalists covering the climate crisis
  • Working with other international labour organisations on climate crisis campaigns
  • Holding speakers’ events featuring journalists who cover the climate crisis
  • Reducing the organisation’s own carbon emissions
  • Learning more from our own IFJ members about how they are covering the climate crisis

The IFJ presented the results of its survey during its global congress in Oman, where IFJ members renewed and revitalized the IFJ’s working group on climate.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: We call on the world’s journalists to reflect on the real threat climate change poses in their reporting and to apply best practices to improve coverage on the most pressing problem of our time. The IFJ also encourages all its affiliates to include the climate issue in their agendas and to work together to launch training to help journalists to cover climate change stories in an ever more professional and effective manner”.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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