chapter  4
The environment as news
News values, news media and journalistic practices
ByAnders Hansen
Pages 27

This chapter focuses on the roles and 'work' of the media and media professionals in communicating environmental issues. It examines the development and significance of specialist environmental journalists and of the 'environment beat' in the creation of environmental news coverage. The chapter discusses whether journalism is becoming increasingly reactive, rather than proactive, and the impact of new information and communication technologies – and associated new source publicity and communication practices – on journalistic work in reporting on environmental issues and controversies. It also examines the impact of key journalistic values, such as objectivity and balance, and the strategies environmental journalists deploy in order to cope with the scientific uncertainty which often characterises environmental issues and problems. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the limitations of the sociology-of-news framework, and the ways in which some of these limitations have been addressed through perspectives focusing on cultural resonances in the discursive construction of environmental issues.