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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - July 2021

Climate change is a news story that requires a very different type of journalism

Let's talk about how to cover climate change, and why it is important to approach this in a very different way. Let's talk about the role of journalism, and what mistakes we cannot afford to make.

But, first I have an apology to make before I get to that. My apology is that I should have written this article 15 years ago, but instead, like the rest of the media, we have been dragging our feet, not taking things seriously enough, and just focusing on other things.

Well, all that needs to change. Today, climate change is no longer something that is happening in the future. It's happening right now, and it's all around us. Most importantly, though, it is a problem that is accelerating. The goal that we have for 2035 now needs to be reached much sooner.

What is also very important about climate change is that the real change isn't even what you think. Most people see climate change only through the lens of big stories in the news. We see worsening weather events, flooding causing a tremendous amount of damage, extreme heat waves causing multiple deaths, forest fires at a scale and severity never seen before, and now even the Amazon rainforest has started emitting more CO₂ than it can absorb ... all presented in the press with scary pictures and shocking headlines.

While these things are a problem and will cost billions to mitigate (not just in 2021 but for years to come), there is an even bigger problem hidden out of sight. This is the problem that climate change is causing in everyday life.

One example is how it impacts our food production. This is not defined by a big flood raging through a city. Instead, it 'just' causes a 15% drop in production rates, which means you have to spend more resources to produce less.

This doesn't sound that bad, and it doesn't make for scary headlines, but it is. For the world as a whole, this is a far bigger problem than a forest fire.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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