RTDNA and our research partners are releasing today an important new survey report. It reflects responses by many RTDNA members to a survey conducted earlier this year on the critical issue of climate change and its coverage by journalists.
This report is the latest result of a partnership between RTDNA, George Mason University and Climate Central. The survey was designed to help guide an extension of the National Science Foundation-funded Climate Matters program—which develops localized climate change reporting materials that are currently used by TV meteorologists in more than 200 newsrooms across America—for the benefit of RTDNA members and a broader set of broadcast, print and digital journalists.
An essential element of RTDNA’s mission is to support its members’ service to their community. RTDNA believes this report—and the Climate Matters in the Newsroom reporting resources that will soon be offered—will be a valuable part of that effort. The report will also inform and guide the climate reporting trainings that RTDNA is developing with our partners at George Mason University and Climate Central. Stay tuned for news on those programs. In the meantime, as always, RTDNA welcomes your feedback and ideas.
About Climate Change Reporting Practices:
- Fully 6 out of 10 RTDNA survey participants had reported on—or supervised journalists reporting on—a local climate change-related story within the prior 12 months.
- Nearly all RTDNA survey participants say they are at least slightly interested in reporting local climate impacts stories, with nearly 4 out of 10 saying they are very interested.
- Over half of RTDNA survey participants receive—or expect—primarily positive responses, or a lack of response, from audience members when covering or supervising local climate change stories. Nearly 4 out of 10 receive or expect audience responses that are equally mixed between positive and negative, or primarily negative.
- More than 9 out of 10 RTDNA survey participants say that reporting on climate change is beneficial to society, with nearly half saying it is very beneficial.
- Fully 8 out of 10 RTDNA survey participants say that lack of training in climate science is an important obstacle to reporting on climate change, making this their most common obstacle.
- Well over half of RTDNA survey participants are interested in a range of professional development activities related to climate change reporting.
- Nearly 6 out of 10 RTDNA survey participants feel they know the science of climate change somewhat, moderately, or very well.
- More than 9 out of 10 RTDNA survey participants think global warming is happening; 3 out of 4 say they are very sure or extremely sure.
- More than 8 out of 10 RTDNA survey participants think that the global warming that has occurred in the past 50 years is mostly, largely or entirely due to human activity; 15% think it is caused equally by human activity and natural causes. Very few think it is mostly or entirely due to natural causes.
- More than 7 out of 10 RTDNA survey participants think that at least some additional climate change can be averted over the next 50 years if mitigation measures are taken worldwide.