Saturday, March 07, 2015

On the greatest challenge to human civilization, at least some of the media are getting it

Photograph: Ralph Lee Hopkins/Corbis
Climate change: why the Guardian is putting threat to Earth front and centre

As global warming argument moves on to politics and business, Alan Rusbridger explains the thinking behind our major series on the climate crisis.

Alan Rusbridger, The Guardian
Last modified on Friday 6 March 201519.44 EST

Journalism tends to be a rear-view mirror. We prefer to deal with what has happened, not what lies ahead. We favour what is exceptional and in full view over what is ordinary and hidden.

Famously, as a tribe, we are more interested in the man who bites a dog than the other way round. But even when a dog does plant its teeth in a man, there is at least something new to report, even if it is not very remarkable or important.

There may be other extraordinary and significant things happening – but they may be occurring too slowly or invisibly for the impatient tick-tock of the newsroom or to snatch the attention of a harassed reader on the way to work.

What is even more complex: there may be things that have yet to happen – stuff that cannot even be described as news on the grounds that news is stuff that has already happened. If it is not yet news – if it is in the realm of prediction, speculation and uncertainty – it is difficult for a news editor to cope with. Not her job.

(Continued here.)

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