Saturday, September 27, 2014

TV Dwells on Disaster in Covering Climate Science: Study

FLOODY HELL: Drivers negotiate a flooded road beneath a railway bridge in Wymondham (Credit:  Click to enlarge.
Television news tends to focus on disasters such as droughts or floods in covering scientific findings about climate change, an approach that may exaggerate pessimism about the subject, according to a new study.

The review of coverage by leading television news shows in Australia, Brazil, Britain, China, Germany and India found that they most often framed reports about the science of global warming in terms of crisis.

The report, by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, said disaster scenarios were played up over themes of scientific uncertainty, risks of global warming or opportunities for solving the problems.

"For television, which is driven by pictures and the need for strong, engaging narratives in a short space of time, disaster-type approaches are going to be very attractive," author James Painter told Reuters.

Some scientists say the media focus on disaster may warp public understanding of climate change and complicate decision-making on effective solutions.  A Yale University study in July found that only one in 10 Americans understand that more than 90 percent of scientists blame man-made emissions, rather than natural variations in climate, for causing global warming.

TV Dwells on Disaster in Covering Climate Science: Study

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