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date: 27 January 2021

Impact of Journalistic Background, Professional Norms, and Culture on Climate Change Coveragelocked

  • Sven EngesserSven EngesserInstitute of Mass Communication and Media Research, University of Zurich

Summary

Among the factors that influence news decisions relative to climate change, journalistic background, professional norms, and culture are particularly important. There is empirical evidence that conservative journalists and media outlets are less likely to support the scientific consensus on climate change and more likely to promote climate change contrarianism.

Journalists with less expertise on climate change may produce less accurate coverage, investigative journalists may be more critical towards science, and journalists with a positive attitude towards the subject of climate change may make it more salient in the news.

There is also indication that climate journalists abandon the norm of balance and increasingly employ strategies of novelty, dramatization, personalization, and localization. The climate journalists also tend to synchronize their coverage to the policies of their governments.

Finally, journalists from the interpretive community around the IPCC or from science-friendly cultures are more likely to support the consensus on climate change, while journalists from collectivist cultures are more likely to endorse binding international agreements.

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