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Climate Crisis Reporting at the Boston Globe: Give the readers what they want!

Climate Crisis Reporting at the Boston Globe: Give the readers what they want!

The current reality is that people in the U.S. are less well-informed about the climate crisis than are residents of other nations, including Canada and most of Europe. The low numbers reflect decades of corporate-financed climate denialism, abetted by the media. But understanding seems to be growing, according to some polls. People in the U.S. are increasingly aware that they are not adequately informed and they desire more and better information. The Globe can provide that service to its readers.

Summary of Findings:

XR Boston reviewed more than 300 articles in The Boston Globe from April 19 2019 to September 5, 2020, using the Globe’s online archive. Our analysis found:

  • The Globe’s reporting does not communicate the urgency of the climate crisis.
  • Severe and extreme weather events are not linked to global warming and the extreme levels of carbon we have released into the atmosphere.
  • Climate science is under-reported, including critical research on climate tipping points and runaway planetary heating.
  • The environmental crisis’ heavy impact on communities of color has not been reported adequately, including extreme weather events, heat-related public health issues (including heating and cooling homes), asthma and other cardio-respiratory diseases that are also linked to COVID-19, the dumping of toxic chemicals and fracking.
  • Reporting on the drought in Massachusetts and New England has not included content connecting the science of our weather pattern to global disruption of climate patterns.
  • The Globe rarely reports on the financial and corporate actions or lack of action to address the climate crisis.
  • Reporting is scant on measures to reduce carbon emissions. The Globe has not critically examined proposals to remove carbon from the atmosphere and to adapt to radically different weather patterns and ocean rising. For example, we did not find one article detailing the content of the Green New Deal proposal, the leading policy proposal to address the crisis.
  • The Globe has not covered the environmental movement in Boston, its actions, reports and proposals, at the level of the community’s activity.

To address these shortcomings, meet the demands of the times, and the needs of the people to understand and address the crisis, Extinction Rebellion Boston calls for The Boston Globe to:

  1. Declare a climate and ecological crisis. Place the climate emergency as your top editorial and corporate priority.
  2. Create a climate emergency reporting plan at the same level of urgency placed on informing the public about the Second World War, following the climate crisis at least as closely as the coronavirus pandemic. That means reporting on the climate and ecological crisis with prominent and front page coverage every day, reporting that both informs readers about events and connects events to science and the trends to more extreme climatic and environmental conditions.
  3. Assign staff to ensure adequate coverage of climate and ecological science, and create a prominent section on ecology in the print edition and on the web with a keyword at the top of the website.
  4. Emphasize environmental racism and justice. Ensure focused reporting on environmental damage and risks to Indigenous, Black, Brown, other People of Color, immigrant and poor communities.
  5. Emphasize science. Ensure that all articles, opinions, and editorials do not misrepresent scientific consensus on the climate crisis and its impacts on life. Scrutinizes public policy for its consistency with this scientific consensus and the scale of action required.
  6. Expand reporting of possible solutions, including political, economic, technological, and lifestyle changes, that address the crisis and prepare for future changes.
  7. Consistently and thoroughly cover the environmental movement. This includes protests, advocacy, and other environmental conservation and regeneration efforts - especially those with direct impacts on BIPOC, immigrant and low-income communities.
  8. Collaborate with your staff's labor unions to divest any pension funds and investments in fossil fuels corporations and their bankers. Disclose any funding from these entities, including income from advertisements.
  9. Agree to be carbon neutral by 2025, along with your subsidiaries and supply chain.
  10. Take the lead on encouraging other local, national, and global media corporations to join the global effort to save humanity and the natural world from this existential crisis.
  11. For the second time, Extinction Rebellion Boston requests a meeting with Brian McGrory, editor of the Globe, and John Henry, principal owner of the Globe, to discuss our call to action and how the Boston Globe can expose the truth about the climate and ecological emergency.

For our second analysis of the Globe's climate crisis coverage, we used the online archive of The Boston Globe and reviewed over 300 articles printed between April 19, 2019 and September 5, 2020. The articles reviewed can be viewed here.

October 2020: Climate Change Reporting at the Boston Globe: An Analysis and Critique

April 2018: Climate Change Reporting at the Boston Globe: An Analysis and Critique

Mock Globe Cover

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