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Communicating on Climate Change

An Essential Resource for Journalists, Scientists, and Educators
Communicating CC Cover

Written by Bud Ward
Published by the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting

 University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
 Download Free PDF Version

Scientists and journalists have been known to talk past each other, both using language rooted in professional shorthand. But when it’s time to make deadline, these two groups need to make clear, accurate and meaningful contact.

Thanks to a series of workshops funded by the National Science Foundation, journalists and climate scientists have been able to address these barriers and develop recommendations for effective communication. These highly interactive workshop dialogues formed the basis of a new resource guide on communicating about climate change for editors, reporters, scientists, and academics.

Communicating on Climate Change was written by Bud Ward, a veteran environmental journalist and journalism educator. Ward started his environmental journalism career in 1974 as Managing Editor of The Bureau of National Affairs’ (BNA) Environment Reporter. In 1982, after serving as Assistant Director of the U.S. Congress’s National Commission on Air Quality for three years, he founded and edited The Environmental Forum, a magazine dedicated to environmental policy.

In 1988 Ward became founding editor of Environment Writer, a monthly newsletter for journalists covering natural resources and environmental issues. Ward, a co-founder and one of six Honorary Members of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), was also co-organizer of the National Science Foundation-funded workshops that informed this book.

Ward served as jury coordinator for the entire history of Metcalf Institute’s Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment. He is currently editor of The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media.

Communicating on Climate Change offers important tips and tools for covering one of the most complex issues of the day. The book reports on Metcalf’s unprecedented series of workshops and features essays on major issues in climate science communication by participating climate researchers and journalists.

The publication may be downloaded here for free. A limited number of paperback copies are available by request (shipping & handling fees apply); 74 pages.

For additional information about purchasing paperback copies of this valuable resource, contact Metcalf Institute.


Communicating on Climate Change
ISBN 978-1-60725-447-8
Table of Contents

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Revisiting ‘A Discernible Human Influence,’ Benjamin D. Santer

2. BACKGROUND AND NATURE OF THE WORKSHOPS
Science to Media: Catch-Up to, But Don’t Get Ahead of, the Science, Anthony Broccoli

3. SCIENCE FOR JOURNALISTS
Scientific Education of Climate Science Writers through Pedagogical Use of Artful Sound Bites, Jerry Mahlman

4. JOURNALISM FOR SCIENTISTS
‘Mediarology’ – The Role of Climate Scientists in Debunking Climate Change Myths, Stephen H. Schneider
Hot Words, Andrew C. Revkin

5. WHAT JOURNALISTS CAN DO
The Local Story on Climate Change is a Critical One, Bruce Lieberman
Why We Don’t Get It, Peter Dykstra
Climate Scientists and Climate ‘Skeptics’: Deciding Whom to Trust, Richard C. J. Somerville

6. WHAT SCIENTISTS CAN DO
Airing Someone’s Video? Probably Airing Their Soundbites, Too? Not So Fast, Jeff Burnside
Science in a Postoperative Newsroom, Jeffery DelViscio

7. WHAT INSTITUTIONS CAN DO
What are Children Being Taught in School about Anthropogenic Climate Change? Kim Kastens and Margaret Turrin
Credentialing for Reporters Covering Complex Issues? Jim Detjen
Shared Values of Science and Journalism: Opportunities for Improvement, Anthony D. Socci

8. NEWS EXECUTIVES MEET WITH SCIENTISTS