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Fellows' Papers
Practice of Journalism

Media Coverage of Climate Change in Africa

Evelyn Tagbo, a Nigerian journalist who has worked for BusinessDay and BusinessEye, has written a detailed study of how the print media in two African countries report climate change.In her study 'Media Coverage of Climate Change in Africa: A Case Study of Nigeria and South Africa', Evelyn monitored the amount of coverage in two Nigerian newspapers (the Guardian and Vanguard) and in two South African newspapers (the Star and the Mail and Guardian) in two three-month periods in 2009 and 2010. In Nigeria, the two papers published 79 articles on climate change, equivalent to less than 0.1% of the total number of articles published on the online sites of the two newspapers during that period. Likewise, the two South African newspapers published slightly more (96), but this still only represented 0.3% of the total number of articles. She also found that in Africa, the controversies about climate change science in the Western media due to ‘Climategate’ and ‘Himalayagate’ made only a very slight impact on climate change coverage.  Evelyn concludes that 'the bulk of the publications on the subject even in African newspapers and magazines are culled from foreign institutions and researchers.  The problem is that much-needed local angles to the issue are often left out.'