An old indian fairy tale goes
like this: Five blind sages have been sent out to describe how this
strange new animal called “Elephant” looks like. As every one of
them touched only one part of the Elephant they came back with five
completely different impressions. With this little anecdote Henrik Bödker
only wanted to promote the interdisciplinary evening plenary. But actually
he provided a great introduction to Chris Nash’s speech about “What
can we expect of Journalism in Confronting Climate Change?”
is why: Imagining journalism would be an elephant and Chris Nash a blind
sage, it’s safe to say, he would come back and say Journalism is
buttocks and smells strange.
Especially when it comes to
reporting about climate change, Nash is convinced we only could expect
the worst. He accounts for his damning indictment with a rough ride
through the history of journalism. Looking back at the first heydays
of journalism, emerged from the industrial revolution and mainly conducted
by people from the working class, it seems obvious that modern journalism
lost all its edges.
Nash is leading that back to
the extraordinary high entry barriers and production cost independent
journalism suffers from these days. As even in pre-internet times no
customer wanted to pay much for their news, news corps got more and
more dependent on their second source of income and that is the advertisement
industry. That led to an uncritical, mainstream kind of journalism.
The most concise effect of that is a three letter word: W-H-Y? This
is the question contemporary journalists learned to forget to ask to
avoid trouble with the actual sponsors of the content. As we all can
witness nowadays this was a literally self-destructive decision.
And, according to Nash, this
is not only self-destructive but destructive in general. As long as
journalist don’t learn to as why, they will speak of droughts in Kenya,
border conflicts in Somalia or water shortage in Ethopia but they won’t
address the problem of climate change itself. It just doesn’t sell.
A glimpse of hope for a better
coverage only lies in the prospering new media, but as they are still
embryos in a self-finding process we shouldn’t rely on them.
would rather like to see how “how intellectuals develop a militant
craftsmanship” to address the problem of climate change adequately.
The issue is too revolutionary to leave it to conservative media.