Showing posts with label BBC News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BBC News. Show all posts

Friday, 5 March 2010

Environment and media

Best Blogger Tips
There is no doubt that the mainstream media report cover environmental news and events in varying degrees of quality and analysis. Of course, some take sides on the ‘debate’ about climate change and seek to offer news opinion disguised as news events but nevertheless it seems they all want to be seen to have a green cloak to a greater or lesser extent. Compared with 20 years ago that could be deemed to be progress. Out of interest I conducted a small piece of research into how the mainstream media offer environmental news to its readers. The simple test that I came up with was this; if the media company cares about reporting environmentally related news items surely rather than simply ad hoc news stories occasionally appearing, they would have a dedicated section on the ‘Environment’ on their internet edition?


I thought it would be a case of all of them listing on the front page a clearly marked tab saying ‘environment’ and then my naive test failing miserably. Surely, they would at least go through the motions of highlighting their green credentials?
But no. The results below show that less than one third of the mainstream media actually place a section entitled ‘environment’ on their front page where it is easy to find.
Now a few rules to cover myself before the inevitably conspiracy theories get started:-
  1. Apologies, if I have missed a section on a national news website (but if I did either I need new glasses or it was very hard to find).
  2. I did not count ‘SciTech’ or ‘Science’ as the acceptable alternative. I was interested in quickly finding environmental news.
  3. Although impressed with hidden tabs revealed when the cursor was held over another tab, sorry didn’t count that either. When I opened the web page I wanted to see it straight away.
  4. Sorry had to be English (I did try translating on one French site but it created a few problems. Apologies to the French; great country).
  5. No, I didn’t include every single known news media in the world; I just took a sample, so sorry again if I missed you.
  6. No, I didn’t include in the table green news websites for obvious reasons since most of the content was ‘green’. However, I have mentioned a few laudable sites in the article below.
  7. No algorithms or fancy statistical controls are involved in this sample so please do not get excited by my declaration that one third show a section called the ‘Environment’. I appreciate that another sample or larger sample could produce completely different results.
  8. They are listed in absolutely no particular order whatsoever. Is that clear enough?!



Name
Country
Environment
Comments
1
UK
Yes

2
UK
No

3
UK
No

4
UK
Yes

5
UK
No

6
UK
Yes

7
UK
Yes

8
UK
Yes

9
UK
Yes
Earth
10
UK
Yes
Green Business
11
Internet
No

12
Internet
No

13
Brazil
No

14
Russia
No

15
Russia
No

16
USA
No

17
USA
No

18
USA
No

19
USA
No

20
USA
No

21
USA
No

22
USA
No

23
USA
No

24
USA
No

25
USA
Yes

26
USA
No

27
USA
No

28
USA
No

29
China
Yes

30
China
No

31
India
No

32
India
Yes

33
South Africa
No

34
South Africa
No

35
Japan
Yes

36
Japan
No

37
France
No

38
France
Yes
but had to translate and called 'Planet'
38
France
Yes

39
Canada
Yes
shown but subsection
40
Australia Daily
No


With less than one third showing ‘Environment’ on the front page in a place where it is easy to find it is disappointing that for such a major news area that these media channels bury it somewhere beyond the usual sections business, science, technology, health, education, celebrities, travel, money and so on.
It would not be too difficult to squeeze in a tab on the subject and pull together the articles already found within the site? There will be an argument that users can simply input words into the search engines but that is not the point. If news media really cared about the key green issues of the day they would put them somewhere to be found without searching. 
I found it particularly surprising that Google News did not set up green news in its own right on its front page. For a worldly and highly influential media source they could easily include ‘Environment’.
Come on media get your act together!
 
The Righteous...
There are some very laudable, independent news sources which I should mention. They provide an eclectic mix of news and simple articles but they are well worth checking out.
I have to mention National Geographic, although not strictly news but more features. Likewise, the Sierra Club simply due to the quality and depth of issues, they cover warrant a mention. Then there are the Twitter news sites, such as greennews, Ecopreneurist and greenerideal. The Greenbiz website is informative on green business news and thedailygreen covers some interesting news items. Well done to you all and many other dedicated environmental news websites.