"HEATED: Challenging Objectivity In Climate Journalism"

"Climate change and environmental issues overlap both human rights and science, yet they’re sometimes debated in the mainstream as if they’re purely factual topics that must be devoid of human investment. For instance, to “call out the polluters for polluting” is sometimes deemed advocacy by both readers and editors, says Atkin, in explaining why she started her independent newsletter, HEATED.

“I didn’t want to be fighting about whether or not we were being too ‘activisty’ by calling out polluters, when I really thought that that was what journalism was supposed to be,” she says.

This dynamic isn’t relegated to the environmental or climate beats. Preventing reporters who care about civil rights from covering protests also has precedent, though such policies are inconsistently applied. But Atkin argues that, just as with war or health crises, you wouldn’t want someone who is completely detached from the human consequences of these to be reporting such news anyway.

“You wouldn’t trust a reporter covering the opioid crisis who looked at all these kids dying and didn’t say ‘this is a problem,’ right? We don’t consider that to be necessarily a breach of journalistic objectivity, but for some reason we still consider it to be a breach of objectivity for the climate crisis,” Atkin says."

Mike DiGirolamo and Rachel Donald report for Mongabay February 13, 2024.

Source: Mongabay, 02/19/2024