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Reuters climate change coverage 'worsened' - study

Reuters coverage of climate change issues has worsened in the past six months and continues to decline, according to a new analysis by US pressure group Media Matters for America.

In a follow-up to a report issued last July, it said that Reuters reported on climate change almost twice as much before Paul Ingrassia, a climate change sceptic, joined the agency as deputy editor-in-chief in April 2011. Since he became managing editor in February 2013 “Reuters’ climate change coverage has only worsened according to an analysis of the six-month period following our initial study”.

Media Matters of America, based in Washington, describes itself as a “progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media”.

Alongside the chart shown above, it said: “From July 24, 2013, to January 24, 2014, Reuters published 221 articles and 103 mentions about climate change, for a total of 324 stories. This is an 8 percent drop from 353 stories during an equivalent time period under the ‘skeptic’ editor’s regime (which saw 353 total stories), and a more than 50 percent decrease from an equivalent time period before Ingrassia took over (675 total stories).

“Just under half of Reuters’ coverage (44 percent) was focused on policy - a decrease from our previous study (63 percent) - and coverage focused on science increased slightly from 12 percent to 14 percent. The articles quoted primarily politicians and government officials (45 percent of the time) - similar to the previous study (41 percent) - but their usage of scientists increased slightly to 19 percent of the time from 12 percent.”

Media Matters for America said the chart was based on a Factiva search comparing “climate change or global warming” coverage before Paul Ingrassia joined to comparable time periods after former Reuters reporter David Fogarty, who had covered climate change in Asia, alleged in a letter to The Baron last July that climate change coverage was suppressed and a “climate of fear” had gripped Reuters. ■

Media Matters for America