A flawed, but fascinating analysis regarding climate change and the media appeared yesterday on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website.
Margot O’Neill, a senior journalist, observes that the climategate story – which broke a year ago this month – was responsible for triggering a paradigm-shift in newsrooms. The mainstream media did a pathetic job of reporting on climategate (especially in North America), but it appears that the scandal nevertheless shook some editors from their slumber.
Journalists are the people who write the news stories but it’s editors who decide the degree of prominence a story merits, whether a story should be trimmed to half its original length, or whether it’s even fit to print. Thus, if climategate made the flawed judgments of environmental reporters manifest to their editors, a valuable public service has been performed.
According to O’Neill, in the aftermath of climategate senior journalists have been on the receiving end of dirty looks in the newsroom. They’ve been accused of “going native.” Their editors have said things like: “you told me the science was settled – and it isn’t!” Well hallelujah. It’s about frakking time.
O’Neill may have just returned from “a sabbatical studying climate change reporting at the University of Oxford” but it’s clear she’s still out of her depth. Note her awkward phrasing: