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Journalist Fellows' Papers

Staying afloat in Paradise: Reporting climate change in the Pacific

Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, an environment journalist from Samoa, has written the first ever study of how the media in her country have covered climate change, entitled ‘Staying afloat in Paradise: Reporting climate change in the Pacific’. Her homeland is one of the most exposed to present and future climatic changes, and particularly the threat of sea level rises heightened by storm surges and heavier rainfall. Despite Samoa’s vulnerability, the media’s coverage of the issue has been negligible.

Jackson discovered that between May 2008 and May 2009 only 16 of the 1,394 articles published by three Samoan newspapers covered climate change. The media in four other Pacific islands fared little better, while the mainstream broadsheet papers in the UK rarely examined the vulnerabilities of this part of the world to climate change. Jackson argues that the major obstacles to more coverage in the Samoan media are the complexity of the issue, under-resourced newsrooms and accessibility to sources and information on the islands.

As with all Fellows’ research papers, any opinions expressed are those of the author and not of the Institute.