Less is less: New York Times reporter’s take on climate change coverage
New York Times environmental reporter Justin Gillis talks about the huge problems associated with global warming in his lecture "Hot Copy! Journalism in the Greenhouse." The Oct. 16 lecture at Northwestern University's Forum auditorum in Evanston is free and open to the public.
People need more information about climate change to fully understand “how much trouble we’re in,” says Justin Gillis, acclaimed environmental reporter for The New York Times.
He says he has a beef with how climate change is short-changed in the media...
His lecture, “Hot Copy! Journalism in the Greenhouse,” is free and open to the public and will be at the McCormick Tribune Center on the university’s Evanston campus.Many newspapers devote only a few inches to a topic Gillis feels should be explored at greater length.
“It just gradually dawned on me,” Gillis says. “This is the biggest problem out there."
He left The Post and joined the Times where he felt he could cover the issue the way he thought it needed to be covered.
"I was frustrated with some of the coverage I would read,” he says, adding that many stories on climate change are “just not long enough.”
Gillis says the trouble he runs into is that most people don’t understand the urgency of the problem — “the idea that we are already out of time.”
Another problem science writers run up against is false balance, Gillis says. In the spirit of fairness, they often give equal weight to fringe groups and minority viewpoints.
While this may help contextualize an issue — and give the appearance of balance — it also lends credence to theories that have been scientifically discredited, he says.