The effectiveness of the media in climate change coverage: a case study of the daily nation newspaper.

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Date
2022
Authors
Muloongo, Cheelo
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Publisher
The University of Zambia
Abstract
This study aims at analysing the effectiveness of the media in covering climate change issues, with a particular case of the Daily Nation newspaper. To achieve this, the study establishes three objectives which include the analysis of the prominence of climate change articles in the newspaper and an investigation of the knowledge, attitudes and practices of Daily Nation journalists on climate change coverage. The final objective is to investigate how effectively the Daily Nation newspaper educates people on issues of climate change. To undertake this research study, the researcher employs mixed research methods, which include content analysis for analysis of news stories, questionnaires for journalists and in-depth interviews for a climate change expert and a journalism Lecturer. To analyse the data obtained, the study uses SPSS, Excel and thematic analysis. The findings indicate that there was less prominence of climate change articles in the newspaper. This is because there were few climate change related stories appearing in the newspaper. For those that appeared, the majority were not page leads and were not long. Furthermore, the majority of journalists were not knowledgeable about climate change and therefore could not handle the task of reporting on it. In addition, despite most journalists indicating that they viewed climate change as an important topic, some editors did not share their views. This partly explains the non-prominence of climate change stories in the newspaper. Furthermore, the majority of stories did not carry research data and had no opinion of experts, thereby lacking authority and reducing their effectiveness. However, the majority of the stories were above the fold line, were issue based and were striving to provide a solution. Based on the foregoing parameters, it is therefore concluded that the overall effectiveness of media coverage of climate change issues in the Daily Nation newspaper is low. With the foregoing findings, the research recommends that just like courses that mainstream gender issues, journalism schools should establish courses that mainstream climate change issues. Secondly, media houses and journalism schools should frequently engage climate change experts to help in improving the knowledge of journalists on climate change issues. In addition, media houses should ensure that Editors are highly trained in issues of climate change. Another recommendation is that media houses should ensure the mainstreaming of climate change coverage in their editorial policies. In addition, stories published must contain research data and the views of experts. Finally, science institutions should emphasise the dissemination of their work in an easy to read manner to media houses and they should employ communications personnel for this job.
Description
Master in Mass Communication (MMC)
Keywords
Climatic changes--Press coverage. , Media and climate change--Reporting. , Media and climate change--Zambia.
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