ic_search Created with Sketch.

As climate change disrupts the planet, should it upend journalism as well?

In 2021, News Corp’s tabloids in Australia made a stunning announcement: for the month leading up to the Glasgow climate summit, they would be running a nationwide campaign on how to tackle climate change.

Cries of hypocrisy rang out from pundits — including News Corps’ own — for this seeming about-face. Was it a flash in the pan, or was it a turning point in climate change reporting from one of the biggest publishers in the world?

And what does it matter anyway when you’re reporting from the Pacific Islands, where you’ve been telling the story for decades?

In this episode of Journo, Nick Bryant talks sinking islands, columnists in denial and patronising the messenger.

Listen

Episode 3: Activism or accuracy — As climate change disrupts the world, should it upend journalism as well?

Listen to more episodes of Journo

Guests

This episode features:

  • Ben English, Editor of The Daily Telegraph in Sydney
  • Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, Editor of Pacific Environment Weekly
  • Andrew McCormick, Deputy Director of Covering Climate Now.

Transcript

Good Morning Britain segment
This ‘just stop oil’ slogan is very playground-ish isn’t it? It’s quite childish. Just stop oil. I mean, come on. There’s more to say than that. 

I would say that we are on the road for climate catastrophe. We are on the road for three degrees of warming. We have a moral responsibility to act now. 

Nick Bryant
It sounded like a parody of a parody, a segment from Good Morning Britain, where life seemed to imitate art. In this instance, the hit Hollywood movie, Don’t Look Up, a film about a comment hurtling towards planet Earth. That was meant as a satire of the media’s coverage of climate change. 

Good Morning Britain segment
I mean, the clothes that you’re wearing, to some extent, owe their existence to oil. 

We’re talking about people in this country right now in fuel poverty because of the prices of oil and you’re talking about the clothes that I’m wearing. This is so serious!

To be fair, up to now you’ve answered questions, but that’s a complete avoidance of the question.

Nick Bryant
Global warming is the most urgent issue of our time, one that’s often dominated by bad and catastrophic news.

So how are journalists escaping the spiral of doom and gloom to tell the story, even as the water is lapping at their door? And how are some key media outlets rethinking their approach to coverage?

Journalist
An intensely negotiated agreement that ultimately falls short for everyone? But at a climate conference that counts as a win? 

Nick Bryant
I’m Nick Bryan, and this is Journo. A podcast from the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas. We’re taking a closer look at how news is made, how news is disseminated, how news is consumed. We’re looking at the biggest challenges and biggest opportunities facing our industry. 

Newsreader
News Corp papers unveiled a bold new editorial position this morning with a 16 page wraparound urging action on climate change. Yeah, you heard that right.
 

Nick Bryant
In the run up to last year’s Glasgow Climate Summit, Rupert Murdoch’s staple of Australian tabloids had a stunning turnaround. Papers that had long been associated with climate change, skepticism suddenly gave the appearance of turning green. It was called The mission Net Zero Project.

Ben English 

I think it was about three weeks out from Glasgow. The Telegraph, then also its sister publications around Australia — so that’s the Tiser in Adelaide and Herald Sun in Melbourne, Courier-Mail, and also the regional papers that are under News Corp Australia’s umbrella — ran a 16 Page wraparound of our papers, which is a massive undertaking, it didn’t even stop there. It was 16 pages day one, it was then another six or eight pages day two. And on onward for another three weeks.

Nick Bryant
That’s Ben English, the Editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, the jewel in the Murdoch Empire’s Australian tabloid crown. 

Ben English
It was enormous and it had a huge impact beyond our readership, our readers was sort of stunned that we did it. I’m really glad we did it. We’ve invigorated the conversation in a healthy way.

Nick Bryant
And just to give you a flavour, ‘How could Australia be number one’ and ‘The new global economy’,  ‘Green and gold’, you’ve got a story in the 16 page wrap around about her Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, saw the dangers, I mean, key bit of messaging there for conservative readers. I mean, this was a remarkable turnaround for the for The Daily Telegraph and The Murdoch stable of tabloids, which traditionally, especially over the last 10 years or so, have been associated with climate change skepticism, 

Ben English
They have been associated, I would say wrongly associated with climate change skepticism. I think that is true. But I would characterise it as skepticism about the hyperbole around the debate. As tabloid papers, metropolitan newspapers, we’re always focused on everyday concerns, the front of mind concerns of our readership, and our readership is really aspirational, working families. And so if you surveyed any one of them, they’d all say they would love to see action on climate change, but in terms of the hierarchy of concerns, it would actually be fairly low compared to how I pay my power bill and how I pay my kid’s school fees and mortgages, etc.

So we had that proportionality in our coverage. However, we also had columnist who are firebrand columnist, and they love to talk about what they perceived as a lot of the sort of double standards and hypocrisy around what they call “the climate cult”. And they got a lot of real estate, they got a lot of attention. And I think what happened was we got characterised as that is our voice. 

Nick Bryant
I really am fascinated with how this came about. Was it top down? Did it come from Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch, or was it something more organic? It came from within those newsrooms in Australia?

Ben English
I would be a lot happier it was top down. It actually came from us as editors for a whole heap of reasons. We had a meeting in Melbourne, I think it was about March of that year, of last year. It was one of those rare windows where we could all fly in. And the issue of climate change was really prominent. We had a very vigorous discussion, probably went for a couple of hours. And it traversed sort of how we were perceived by most Australians, by our readers, how important is climate change? Is it actually something that we need to address, we’ve never really made it a big focus. It wasn’t that we were ignoring it. But we hadn’t actually really done the full News Corp treatment of it. And when we actually tackle something, no one misses it.

We felt that a lot of the journalism had actually veered into activism, and had been a lack of curiosity about a lot of the data that have been presented. We felt that it had been written from a viewpoint that we will characterise as more elite. And I think that’s why we felt that it hadn’t really resonated with our readers: that it had been from a lofty height and an element of guilt and shame around it all. We felt there was an opportunity to actually be right at the heart of the conversation, but do it from a viewpoint of everyday Australians. 

Nick Bryant
Take me inside that meeting. I mean, was there consensus immediately? The fact that the discussion took two hours suggests perhaps there wasn’t. And for editors of a Murdoch tabloid to have that conversation, even to begin with, would strike many people as remarkable, given the front pages that we’ve seen over the years and the sort of skeptical approach to things like the carbon tax. 

Ben English
Yeah, 100 per cent. There was about 10 or 12 of us there. We had a discussion with some really senior journalists as well. They sort of gave us their take on where we were in the, in the conversation. So the to and fro was about, well, is it necessary, like, why do we need to do anything about this? Is it you know, is it really something we need to focus on was perhaps a contrarian view. And the other view was, well, the whole world is moving in this direction, our capital markets are moving in this direction. Politically, there’s a there’s a momentum. So we don’t want to be absent from that. Our readers deserve to have their mastheads right at the heart of that debate. How people are going to perceive that? Is this going to be seen as a betrayal of our base? That was the sort of tenor of the conversation. 

Nick Bryant
Because that boardroom in Melbourne essentially becomes a road to Damascus.

Ben English
I guess it was. The only thing I would say as an asterisk next to that is, I don’t believe that the way we approached it was contrary to any of the principles that we’d applied in our journalism in the previous 10 years, it was just a heightened focus more of a spotlight, 

Nick Bryant
I wonder how that conversation ended. Because at one point, presumably, somebody would have said, ‘what’s Rupert going to think?’ ‘What’s Lachlan going to think of this?’

Ben English
They need to be across everything that we’re doing, particularly significant undertakings like this. So that was going to be an important discussion that we had to take place. Everyone was aware of it. It didn’t even really need to be said,  

Nick Bryant
And did you get sign off from the Murdoch high command easily or quickly? Or was there a bit of scepticism at the top of the organisation?

Ben English
People will perhaps be sceptical about this period, but we have autonomy. Basically, the only thing that we are accountable for is the logic and the rationale for why we do things. And if we can build a compelling case for doing something then generally we get supported on it. 

Nick Bryant
I think it’s fascinating because often people from outside of the Murdoch empire really think that Rupert Murdoch and now Lachlan Murdoch more and more really sort of dictate to their editors what their editorial line should be. You’re saying that that’s a myth. That’s not how it works day to day? 

Ben English
Absolutely. But what they do dictate is quality or dictate standards. We’re held to high standards. I feel it every day across all our platforms. And on the front page, I feel like that’s the exposure. That is the accountability. It’s really just about are we actually doing our job well. 

Nick Bryant
I wonder what they thought of the 16 page wraparound? Did you get any feedback from Rupert or or Lachlan? 

Ben English
Not really. They were happy with the way that it had been presented, not lecturing our readers. They were happy to the journalism was very solid. There are a lot of claims in the climate change industry that I think too often go unchecked. 

Nick Bryant
The response of your readership was fascinating. There’s some elements within it. “Wow, Daily Telegraph really getting on the wacko lefty climate change bandwagon.”

There was a bit of a backlash, wasn’t it? 

Ben English
Yeah, absolutely. And that wasn’t surprising. But I knew that as the arc of the presentation progressed, that they’d come around. When you look at the whole opus of it, it was actually quite a balanced, you know, volume of work. So we did a lot of journalism around nuclear energy, for example. So we’re looking at all the applications. What is the best pathway to get to emissions zero? Yeah, okay. You want to get emissions zero? What’s the best way to get there? which I think has been missing from the debate. 

Nick Bryant
Now, it wasn’t only your readers that gave you a hard time it was some of your most prominent columnists. Andrew Bolt an arch-conservative, one of the biggest columnist in Australia. He called it rubbish. 

Andrew Bolt
Sixteen pages of News Corp’s global warming propaganda, telling them why Australia should cut its emissions now to net zero. And that is a shock. Not just to me. So let me tell you what I do think about this 16 page supplement. Forget all that stuff we used to say that it would ruin us. This is what I think it’s rubbish, I don’t buy it. 

Ben English
Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t mind that at all. I mean, like, what better validation do you have that we’re not groupthink? And then, in fact, we have a broad church of ideas. I mean, that’s the sort of allegation that’s levied at us by the likes of you know, Kevin Rudd and others that we all go into a room and Rupert gives us a script, and we all just spew it out. But you see it right across our stable — a great diversity of editorial tone. I didn’t mind that at all. I actually thought it helped things. 

Nick Bryant
Now, there was another accusation of groupthink, that all of these tabloid editors came together prior to the Glasgow climate change summit. It was an attempt maybe to greenwash your own front pages, to carry out this sort of dramatic U turn, when you realise, you know, finally, many people would say that you’re on the wrong side of history.

Ben English
Yeah, I reject that. As I said, it was really just about, look, this is a massive issue. It’s getting bigger. There’s a lot of fake news out there about it. Let’s apply our good journalism to it. We thought that people would be interested in it, we thought we’d broaden our readership, broaden our audience. And in fact, it did.  

Nick Bryant
So you didn’t take a commercial hit over this? Quite the opposite.

Ben English
Quite the opposite. And by the way, that’s a lovely byproduct of it. Our sales department hasn’t been unhappy with the outcomes.

Paul Barry, Media Watch
And tonight, we’re devoting an entire program to the dramatic U-turn, because we think Australia’s biggest media group’s position on climate change has been reckless, dishonest, and damaging and has paralysed the debate for decades. The big question will be, ‘is it for real?’ 

Nick Bryant
This story made headlines in Australia, because it was such a dramatic change. The story also made headlines around the world. I mean, The New York Times covered the story, a number of big American outlets covered this story. They wonder whether it might be indicative of a broader shift within the Murdoch empire. Maybe the Wall Street Journal was going to shift. Maybe Fox News was going to shift. That hasn’t happened. But you hoped that it would?

Ben English
No, I don’t I don’t really care. I love News Corp, the global company, I think it’s it’s amazing. But they’ve each got their own editorial imperatives. But I do think it’s interesting that they haven’t because how do the conspiracy theorists cope with that, because if this was an order that came from Rupert shouldn’t they have changed as well?

News reader
Climate change is threatening the people of Kiribati. Sea levels are rising, storm surges and severe tropical storms are flooding the sparsely populated country with increasing frequency. For the locals, it’s a question of survival. 

Climate change is not an abstract notion for these islands. 

Nick Bryant
What’s it like to cover a country with a climate emergency already dominates the news agenda, day in and day out? That’s what Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson has been doing in the Polynesian island nation of Samoa for 20 years. She is currently the editor of Pacific Environment Weekly. 

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
So in Samoa, just like across the Pacific, the stories that we cover are very much tied to what we stand to lose as a result of the climate crisis. And the loss and damage resulting from the climate crisis are both tangible and intangible for the people of the Pacific. So anywhere from the villages that we live on our communities, our places of worship, our cultural and spiritual places, the loss of those tangible assets and culturally invaluable resources that we have. That’s what covering climate is like in Samoa. 

Nick Bryant
So climate change, reporting in Samoa really is reporting on an existential crisis.

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
Very much so. And we’re fortunate in Samoa and that we are a volcanic island. So there’s mountains to climb if something happens. There’s plenty of land to move to when you know saltwater inundation affects our food sources and our coastal areas. But for people in atoll nations like Marshall Islands, like Tuvalu, like Tokelau and others It truly is an existential crisis. Like, they will cease to exist as a nation as a result of the climate crisis 

Nick Bryant
Lagipoiva, I wonder whether there is anything that you cover in Samoa that doesn’t have a climate change component to it. You were talking there about the impact on churches, you were talking there about the impact on food, you’re talking there about the impact on on where people live? I mean, it just strikes me that climate change just pervades every story you cover? 

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
Definitely. You’ve got that, right, Nick. It is an all encompassing cross sectional issue. It is one of these issues that touches at the very core of what it is to be a Samoan, on what it is to be an Islander. Whether it be sports, culture, you know, community. Climate change affects it. So for example, if you think of rugby, you might not necessarily have a direct tie to climate change, but there is because in the rainy season, the boys can’t play on muddy fields. So it really compromises the game. So you know, you’re right. Every aspect of the climate story in Samoa is tied to every aspect of life. 

Nick Bryant
It’s from pages ,back pages, every page in between. I wonder, when was it that you realised that this was going to be a story that dominated the rest of your journalistic life.

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
Having lived through many cyclones growing up, I always knew that there was this threat as a result of the weather as a result of the climate. But it never really hit home until around 2007. I was editor of a national newspaper. And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, or the lead think tank and scientific body on climate change, released a report that had a devoted chapter on small island developing states or SIDS. And in that chapter it highlighted and specified exactly how climate change will impact island nations. And it was then, as a young editor, you know, reporting to the public, that it really hit home for me that this was my responsibility as a journalist to translate this really complex scientific paper in a way that our non specialist audiences could understand.

Nick Bryant
I think that’s one of the great challenges, isn’t it in covering climate change, it’s to make a story that can often be be quite dry, in some ways, ironically, and quite scientific. It’s turning into stories that really have resonance with with people. It’s one 

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
It’s one of those challenges, starting out of how you can really relay this information without boring the person, right? Like you said, it’s dry, it’s uninteresting science is often not that exciting when you take it in its raw form. But for this one, it was an easy story to tell, in a way because we were in the setting and in the frontline of the climate crisis. So all the examples of the science that they described, were unfolding before our very eyes every time a cyclone occurs. When the droughts occur, you could write that story. The triggers for these stories occurred almost on a daily basis. So in a way, as an island climate journalist, it was easier to relay that message using the human face of the climate crisis. And that human face were the people reading the newspaper I was editing, was everyone who was you know, residing , and someone who grew up in this country. 

 

Audio archive
And welcome back to my channel, we are preparing for a tropical depression with central cyclone, we were told that there are two heading our way people are boarding up people are preparing…

 

Nick Bryant
That actually brings with a challenge, doesn’t it in telling us story, day after day, month after month, year after year? How do you keep telling such a such a huge story in a way that maintains the impact?

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
It is it’s such an important point. And one that is not discussed enough in this field, which is when do you stop the doom and gloom narrative? And you’ll find that the way that island journalists cover the climate crisis is very different to the way that Western media does. Because after a while, there’s only so much… there’s only so many times you can tell an islander that their island is submerging. That the future as they know it is never going to be the same. So how do you tell that story? You tell that story in different ways. We tell the stories of the responsibility of high emitting countries. We balance it out with how people are adapting, with the empowering voices of island nations who are fighting despite the odds at play. So it is a continuously tragic story to tell. But within it, there is a lot of hope in the way that island nations have come together and have tried to find their place in the international negotiations. And also in the way that people in village communities have adapted, adapted the way they fish adapted the way they grow plants and they feed their families, you know, now that their livelihoods are affected as a result of the climate crisis. 

Journalist
The tiny atoll island of Tuvalu has been slowly sinking. It’s said to be the first islands that will fall victim to rising sea levels. Here they are shifting their reliance from diesel generated electricity and have begun trialing solar energy. 

 

Nick Bryant
I’m fascinated by this idea that there has been maybe too much doom and gloom and not enough reporting on some of the more positive responses to the climate emergency. 

 

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
Definitely. So it has always been the sexy topic in international media to talk about the sinking islands, or the helpless little islands in the Pacific. They are sinking, they are dying. We are not about that narrative in the Pacific. We’re actually about empowering, we’re a proud people Nick. you know, Polynesians, Polynesians are not taking anything lying down, you meet the Micronesians. They will not be taking this lying down and they are not doing that. And so those are the stories we love to tell. We love to tell about the fact that Vanuatu has developed like seven different varieties of taro so they can continue to eat taro and drought seasons and heavy rainfall seasons. Or in Tuvalu, how they’ve developed a way to plan taro that can float. So there’s so many stories of hope that is a true reflection of the people of the Pacific, in that these are warrior cultures, these are proud, historically culturally rich people. And we have to do due diligence. This is not a group of helpless islanders sinking underwater, which is the narrative might I add, that is constantly being used by international journalists in Australia, in the US in the UK, you name it, there’s been a front page of an island looking helpless.

Nick Bryant
What you’re  saying is that we in the international media have been very patronising. 

 

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
Indeed, that’s a very good word. Yes.

Andrew McCormack
Something that we say over at Climate Now a all the time, it’s kind of our our bumper sticker line is that the climate story is a story for every beat.

Nick Bryant
Andrew McCormick used to be an officer in the United States Navy. Then he decided to take on a new mission. As a journalist focused on the climate emergency. He saw it as his new public service, and is now the deputy director of Covering Climate Now, a coalition of news organisations and journalists, reimagining how to cover climate change.

Andrew McCormack
I think there’s a misperception in the journalism space, that climate is a story to be left to the environmental reporters or to be left to the science reporters. And for that reason, I think that the public also receives it in that way, where they kind of think of it as, oh, well, if I’m not myself, you know, personally a very sciency person, I’m not going to dedicate a whole lot of brainpower to climate. And I think that that misses the reality of the climate story. I think it misses the bigness of climate change.

Nick Bryant
Andrew, what does good coverage look like? Give us some give us some tips here.

Andrew McCormack
It may be helpful for us to say some of the traits that I think weighed down climate journalism for a long time, I think there was a tendency towards wonkiness in climate journalism, a lot of technical language, a lot of storytelling that was really bogged down by lengthy scientific explanations, difficult terms to process, a lot of insider-ism, where it was kind of the climate story being told only for folks that already understood climate. But the most important thing we advise in climate journalism, is centering human stories. There are often reports from large organisations updating us on the science of climate change. But if we’re only ever telling the story of a report, or if we’re only ever telling the story of what some politician or large businessman said about climate change, we’re not really going to convince audiences of the urgency of this issue.

Journalist
Turning to a top story this hour and aftermath on negotiations, 197 countries have struck a deal at the Climate Summit in Glasgow. 

 

Nick Bryant
Andrew, one of the problems it seems to me is that rather than the being a daily story, climate change has become a diary story. We tend to do a lot of coverage around these set-piece events, these summits that take place in Glasgow, in Paris in Copenhagen. And it’s almost like we expiate our guilt for not doing enough in between times that we do a lot around those big events to the detriment of day to day coverage.

Andrew McCormack
I think that’s right. I do think we’ve seen from more news organisations, fortunately, a commitment to doing more climate coverage. So I think it on any given day, you know, today if you go to the website of CNN, or The New York Times, or whatever the case may be, you’re much more likely to see a climate story than you would have in the past. But often that daily coverage, it does feel a little bit detached from the grand narrative. It might be, you know, kind of small, incremental updates that feel outside of place and time whereas on other stories like the Coronavirus, or like Russia’s war in Ukraine, there is such kind of to the minute coverage where it’s so clear that journalists expect us to really be engaged with this issue and tracking what’s going on. And there just isn’t that same energy unfortunately, brought to the climate story.

Nick Bryant
What you would like to see is actually the kind of thing that we’ve had during Coronavirus, which is on the front page of newspapers on the front page of websites, sort of statistics telling us exactly where we are you would like to see an equivalent of that, with climate change,

Andrew McCormack
I think during Coronavirus, many outlets around the world showed us that they have a lot of creative energy to bring to big problems. They’ve shown us that there are ways to break out of conventional storytelling modes or traditional expectations of what a front page looks like or what a homepage looks like. I’m thinking about The New York Times early and Coronavirus, when deaths were spiking in New York City put a chart on the front page where a red spike was crossing through the masthead. And it was a very striking image. I think recently in America, we crossed a million COVID-19 deaths. And the New York Times wrapped the paper in a list of names. We just aren’t seeing similar creative energy brought to the climate problem in that way. And I think that climate challenge is a big one. And there are plenty of opportunities for creative solutions as journalists to really drive home the importance of the issue to audiences. 

Journalists
Now for a second day. Protesters from the campaign group extinction rebellion have blocked roads in central London. They’re promising two weeks of disruption in the capitol calling on the government to act against climate change.

And the Home Secretary Priti Patel has called the protests by eco activists as selfish and fanatical.

But the latest generation of kids is taking civil disobedience to a new level. Defined Lee they’ve chosen to skip class and wag school. 

 

Nick Bryant
I wonder what you think of the coverage of protests, there seems to be a lot of journalistic sympathy around demonstrations involving kids, and a lot of hostility towards more radical groups like Extinction Rebellion.

 

Andrew McCormack
In coverage of those younger activists, we almost in the media treat them as kind of cute, the stories are always framed in a very optimistic weigh, like look at the inspiring work that these young people are doing. But I think that’s a little bit dismissive or belittling of the message that they carry that leaders aren’t taking up in the way that they obviously need to be. 

Nick Bryant
And what about Extinction Rebellion and these groups that tried to bring cities to a standstill?

Andrew McCormack
To the extent that activists are sometimes framed as radicals in the media, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had a great line a couple of weeks ago, where he said that it’s the governments doing nothing who are the radicals here? It’s the governments and businesses that choose to do nothing that are radical and extreme, not the folks calling for change. I think it’s true, and I wish it would reflect more often in our coverage.

Nick Bryant
What you’re describing, Andrew, is a journalism that to some people will sound like activism. But do you think that on climate change, journalists have to become activists with a small “a”?

Andrew McCormack
I think that’s a concern that we’ve heard a lot at Covering Climate Now, especially from some of the larger, more institutional news outlets out there, that that arguing for climate action is explicitly activist, but we don’t see it that way. The science is extremely clear that humanity needs to make large and immediate changes across the globe, across various sectors of the economy. It is not activist to say that that action must happen. We don’t see that as a matter of activism we see it as a matter of accuracy, which is absolutely journalists’, job. 

Greta Thunberg

Systems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you. 

Nick Bryant
I was at the United Nations today, Greta Thunberg, delivered that searing rebuke, and interviewing her in the days beforehand and covering the protests that she stood at the head of was one of the few occasions when my kids thought I had a worthwhile job. This extraordinary mobilisation really feels like a milestone moment, a day, maybe we’ll talk about for decades to come. The question is whether this climate change activism will translate into climate change action.

I think that’s not a bad test of our climate change reporting. How will it stand the test of time when our kids have grown up? How will future generations come to look upon our coverage? Many news organisations have already moved away from the both-sider-isms that often shapes our coverage of controversial topics. And that’s a welcome development. And frankly, it’s one issue where it doesn’t worry me that much if the lines are occasionally blurred between journalism and activism, so long as we maintain our reporting rigour, we are living this story together, every single one of us is on the climate change frontline. Lagipoiva, what would you say to the international media who have been so patronising towards these Pacific Islands that see you as helpless that see you is reliant on the West, reliant on us?

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson
Do better. Do better as a journalist, like find the actual story, not the narrative that was pushed by the West, that these are helpless people. And my advice to international journalists is talk to the sources reach out to the communities who are affected, ask them what they stand to lose, not just assume that they are going to lose it. And another narrative that’s really harmful is the assumption that we’re grieving, that Pacific Islanders are grieving, there is always laughter on the islands, irrespective of whatever type of grief or existential crisis we’re going through. And I feel that that’s something that also needs to be highlighted that still within this crisis, there are thriving nations that continue to live irrespective of this threat.

Nick Bryant
Journo was produced by Deadset studios for the Judith Neilson Institute, which supports quality journalism and storytelling around the world. You can find out more about the institute’s programs and events at jninstitute.org. Make sure you follow the podcast on your podcasting app, so you’re alerted each time we release a new episode. Our Executive Producer is Rachel Fountain, our producers are Grace Pashley, and Britta Jorgenson, sound design is by Krissy Miltiadou. Our Managing Editor is Kellie Riordan and our Commissioning Editor is Andrea Ho from the Judith Neilson Institute and I’m Nick Bryant.

Tabloid editors are known for putting their favourite front pages and framing them on their office walls. Are you going to frame “Green and gold”?

Ben English
It’s up there now. Come and have a coffee with my in my office.