Innovation in journalism
Compilation of outstanding examples of journalism in the field of meteorology or climatology.
He regularly publishes articles on the environment and climate change in the “Planet” section of “Le Monde”. He was nominated for the Journalist Award on the basis of three recent articles published in “Le Monde”:
- One third of sea level rise is due to melting of high altitude glaciers (Le Monde, Planète, June 2013) – translated into English
- The climate and war (Le Monde, Planète, November 2014) – translated into English
- Climate and the trade of doubt (Le Monde, Planète, March 2015) – translated into English
In his articles, Stéphane Foucart is addressing climate change and its social and environment impact, highlighting the different aspects (e.g. in the context of history and politics) and reporting the recent scientific facts, while keeping a high level of objectiveness.
He is vigilant to detect and expose misleading information about climate change and he is reporting in an understandable way the scientific facts about the environment, the climate and also about climate change in the context of politics. These implications of climate and climate change are rarely addressed by meteorologists or climatologists, but are of utmost importance. Foucart adds to the scientific facts the perspective of a competent journalist, placing climate change into a broader frame. This is an impressive work.
Stéphane Foucart has been working for “Le Monde” for 15 years now, and he is the journal’s environmental sciences correspondent since 2007. He is also the author of books investigating the corporate influence on science (Le Populisme climatique, 2010, and La Fabrique du mensonge, 2013).
John Sweeney is Emeritus Professor at the Irish Climate Analysis and Research UnitS (ICARUS) at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. For the past few decades he has been the main communicator of information about climate change, extreme weather and other meteorological information to the Irish public through all forms of journalistic media.
See some examples of his interviews and articles:
- Looking Back and Looking Forward: Newspaper article dealing with aspects of the extremely cold winter 2010/2011 in Ireland (appeared in Sunday Business Post)
- Daily breakfast news programme on TV3 (Ireland): discussion around the role of jet streams in producing the wet summer conditions over Ireland in 2012 [mp3, 8.9 MB]
- John Sweeney warns about climate problems on National television news bulletin (RTE Ireland)
Considerations which are important when communicating messages relating to climate change – by John Sweeny:
- Tailor your message to the target audience concerned.
- A communication with a broadsheet newspaper is very different to a soundbite on local radio. Although the temptation is to impress one’s peers with the former, for the latter it is important to express a message more directly, without equivocation. This is much more difficult than often appreciated, but essential if the message is to hit home.
- Decide in advance what the key message is and do not be deflected from this.
- Interviewers vary enormously. Some are well versed in the science, others are not. Questions may therefore appear lightweight, rather populist, and not what you have anticipated. If necessary the question should be used as a general platform only to convey your intended message.
- Avoid misplaced ideas of professional and academic ‘snobbery’
There are professional atmospheric scientists who look down on those who participate in media activities, considering them to be ‘pseudo’ scientists who betray scientific purity and excessively simplify its complexity. There is no justification for this, such are the major problems global society faces. In many areas atmospheric scientists can, and must, make key contributions. Journalism and media activities by young atmospheric scientists requires particular courage in this area and must be strongly supported.