"... an indispensable tool for helping journalists learn from climate change experts, and climate change experts in return to learn from journalists, on cutting communication issues involved in informing the public on the most critical environmental issue of the 21st Century."
Stephen H. Schneider, Ph.D.
"... a great primer for anybody new to the beat, to the lab, or to the general effort to better explain the scientific facts underpinning one of the most pressing and far-reaching issues of our time."
Columbia Journalism Review
Communicating on Climate Change
Written by Bud Ward
An Essential Resource for Journalists, Scientists, and Educators
Published by the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting
University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
Table of Contents | Download PDF Version | Order Print 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 Metcalf Institute 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.
Currently Ward is the Jury Coordinator for the Metcalf Institute's Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment, and 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 is available for free by download in pdf format (7 MB) at:
Or you can order a paperback copy of Communicating on Climate Change using the order form. A limited number of copies are available (shipping & handling fees apply); 74 pages.
Please fill out the order form and fax or mail it with your payment by credit card or check to:
Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting
URI Graduate School of Oceanography
218 South Ferry Road
Narragansett, RI 02882
Fax: 401 874 6486
Communicating on Climate Change
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
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February 17, 2009