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Improving climate journalism, engaging the youth

The Department of Journalism and Media Studies and the research group Media, Environment and Society, are proud to host an international web based conference on how to engage young people by improving the practices of climate journalism.

Our research group is partner of the Media Climate network, which will present findings from their interviews with leading school strikers/youth activists in more than 20 countries.

The conference is open to journalists and editors who are attempting to “turn things around” for climate journalism (see separate call below) as well as engaged youth themselves.

We invite scholarly papers, in particular, on the development of climate journalism and/or journalism/communication around youth engagement in the climate crisis. Taking the special global virus situation into consideration, we also invite papers addressing this issue, by linking it to the practices of climate journalism. 

At this moment we prepare for a web based conference, both due to the COVID 19 crisis, but also due to the climate crisis. We need to explore more ways and possibilities for communication and colaboration without travelling. With this said, we will follow the situation closely, and if possible, parts of the conference will also be hosted at the Oslo Metropolitan University.

More information about key note and program will be published on this page. Please see Call for Papers below.

Registration will open in august. 

Organizing commitee

The organizing commitee consists of Ingerid Salvesen, Dagny Stuedahl, Anne Hege Simonsen, Ingrid Fadnes, Andreas Ytterstad, Elisabeth Eide, Marianne Takle and James Painter (reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.org) in partnership with Media Climate Network (mediaclimate.net).

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    Call for Papers

    • Context

      “The media has failed to create public awareness, but homo sapiens have not yet failed. Yes, we are failing but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands" (youtube.com). 

      Greta Thunberg’s sweep at the media in Davos, 2018, already seems a bit outdated. After the school strikes in 2019 there is more public awareness, and many countries have declared climate crisis. Some polls and reports suggested that media coverage of climate change in 2019 grew and improved (yaleclimateconnections.org), contributing to a change of public opinion. Those reports came before the COVID 19 crisis began in earnest.

      In March 2020, there was a global drop of 36 per cent from February in media attention to global warming and climate change (sciencepolicy.colorado.edu), although quite a few media compared the rapidity of government measures facing the virus with the slowness in their climate mitigation.

      Notwithstanding such fluctuations, there can be little doubt that many media outlets, from niche media to mainstream legacy media including public service broadcasting, are making concerted efforts to improve their climate journalism. Many do so while simultaneously trying to approach “hard-to-reach” younger audiences. 

      In its 2018 strategy for “Greener Broadcasting”, the BBC not only aims to inform about environmental issues, but to inspire audiences “to take action to reduce their own impacts and create positive change.” On Earth Day 2019, Colombia Journalism Review, together with newspaper The Nation in the US, suggested several ways to improve climate journalism, one of which was “Don’t blame the audience, and listen to the kids” (cjr.org). 

    • Suggested contributions on improving climate journalism, engaging the youth

      We welcome contributions on how to improve climate journalism in various respects. This list is suggestive, but we are open to other ideas as well!

      • How do climate journalists involve young people themselves, on both legacy and digital media platforms, in the development of climate journalism in times of emergency?
      • How do climate journalism link the climate crisis to the COVID 19 pandemic?
      • How can climate journalism strengthen and innovate its storytelling and genre repertoire to gain a wider (and younger) audience?
      • How can the skills of climate journalism make a difference, by way of visualization, developments in data journalism? 
      • How does climate journalism represent climate change as a dimension of other issues: ecological, social, medical (corona), economic, ethical, etc.
      • The increasing risks involved for journalists in many countries, when they report on climate change and other environmental issues.
      • How can climate journalism link the climate crisis to people’s livelihood and everyday experiences?
      • How roles and professional norms change (or not) as climate journalism sets out to be (more) engaging, and how do media reorganize their newsrooms and train their journalists on climate change?
      • How does climate journalism work with issues of climate justice (north and south, gender based, generational etc)?
    • Contributions focusing on youth engagement

      We also want to reserve particular slots for contributions focusing on youth engagement. Here, the broader fields of climate communication and youth engagement research (onlinelibrary.wiley.com) will be relevant. Themes here are again not restricted to this short list, but we welcome contributions on: 

      • The balance of “hope” and “panic” in climate communication with young people.
      • Young people as co-producers of climate journalism.
      • The ascriptions of agency and responsibility in climate communication with young people.
      • The generational issue: differences and similarities between climate communication with young people and other groups in society.
    • Contributions on climate journalism experiences and good practices

      Faced with present day’s climate crisis, journalists often find themselves between two opposite positions: hope or despair. However, is it either or? We welcome practicing journalists to discuss and present their ideas, thoughts and work experiences concerning climate journalism. This call includes independent journalists, journalist collectives, collaborations between scholars and journalists, media institutions, cross-border collaborations and local journalism. 

      On a global level, journalists struggle with many of the same issues, and sometimes the same topics. Some examples: How do we report on huge disasters like the burning forests in the Amazon and Australia? How do we report on the loss of species, the rising sea level and the disappearance of habitats? How do we deal with urbanization and other forms of climate related migration? How do we report on future scenarios and solutions? How do journalist initiatives relate to the growing youth demands and uprisings?

      We encourage journalists to share projects, ideas and initiatives at our conference. We want the conference to be a hub for discussions that may advance conversations about the multiple dimensions of climate change and the role and possibilities for journalism. The aim of the Conference is to allow journalists to meet and engage with scholars and young people in discussions about the directions of climate and environmental journalism. We welcome a variety of projects, such as examples of good storytelling, insights and methods from working in this field, new ways of organizing the workflow to accommodate new challenges, and inspiring ways in which to build competence and knowledge among the work force. 

      We welcome contributions on how to work on climate journalism in various respects. This list is suggestive, and we are open to other ideas as well: 

      • the climate crisis and the COVID 19 crisis, similarities, differences and links between crisis coverage
      • visualization 
      • storytelling 
      • journalistic projects reaching out to young people
      • experiences with in-house journalistic training and experiences on re-organizing teams, making for instance specific climate-editors 
      • investigative journalism and methods
      • how to engage audiences in questions of climate change
    • Call for workshops and panels

      We want to make our first Conference on Climate Journalism into a hub for scholars, journalists and engaged youth, facilitating a variety of discussions. So we encourage proposals for panels and workshops from academic researchers, research projects, journalists, environmental youth organizations and climate networks alike (both academic, journalistic and mixed).

      We welcome cutting edge panels in all areas related to climate, environmental issues, journalism, and in particular involving (or organized by) youth and the school strikes and their demands for climate action.

      We welcome different types of sessions such as debates, roundtables, workshops and other non-conventional formats. We encourage panels that are well balanced, mixed and multidisciplinary, geographically and gender diverse.

    • Deadline and submission form

      The deadline for abstract is June 15th 2020. 

      To submit abstract use this link (nettskjema.no).