Essay on Media Portray of Environmental Issues

Decent Essays

The way that media has portrayed environmental issues has changed radically in the past few years. Environmental issues often aren`t considered newsworthy unless something large scale occurs with a notable impact on everyday life. The BP oil spill in 2010 made front pages world wide, there was a sudden push for the rescue of marine life and a general disgust for the condition of the Gulf Coast. An outpouring of awareness came of this tragedy and mass media diligently informed audiences of every detail as the following cleanup events unfolded. Most environmental news is not front-page material. The media gets the ultimate say in what is deemed as important.

The typical newspaper reader does no read every single article, but rather skims …show more content…

Media draws from various sources to gather facts and assemble stories for their readership. When a story comes out about a new scientific discovery or an impending extinction of a species, the source must be considered. In a paper by Jeremy Corbett entitled “Testing Public Uncertainty of Science” he discusses how newspapers especially just don’t have the manpower to go straight to the scientific source. Media often rely on information sourced from governmental and private entities rather than cutting edge scientific information. This allows them to provide information that is easily understood and likely widely accepted. Corbett gives the example of a magazine that cites scientific reports but changes their story constantly: cell phones cause cancer, no they don`t, then months later they are back to the initial assumption.

Awareness does not necessarily lead to change. Just because an environmental issue is brought to light doesn’t mean its going to pull at everyone’s` heart strings and convince them to act. News affects everyone a little differently and some indicating factors include education level and interest in local, national, and international news. (Schafer, 2010, pp. 11-65) A survey cited in an article by Fredrick Saunders showed that in 2011, 70 percent of people who follow international news say that global warming is a serious threat, compared to 35 percent of those surveyed who do not

Get Access