Climate change tools for journalists

Friday 2 June 2017

Image: Nattu/Creative Commons

Climate change is the biggest existential crisis that we face, yet the topic is often misreported or lacks in regular coverage.

Now, more than ever, climate science and climate change needs to be at the forefront of social, political and economic discussions. Journalists, in particular, can play a fundamental role in getting the message across and communicate not only the urgency, but also the effects of a rapidly changing climate. But what is the best way to cover these issues?

We’ve pulled together a list of resources for journalists, broadcasters and organisations who wish to report on climate change in the best way possible. We will update this list regularly, so please get in touch if you have any recommendations.


Fear Doesn’t Work: Communicating Climate Change for 2017 (Handbook)

This toolkit by Climate Tracker summarises some of the best tips for communicating climate science and what role psychology and emotions play in processing climate science information. The guide also includes case studies on successful and failing climate communication strategies, and how it can influence public opinion and internal policy for better or for worse.

Multimedia tools help journalists tell meaningful stories of climate change (Report)

This excellent short report by the International Journalists’ Network offers six observations about the range of tools and techniques multimedia journalists can use to effectively report on the complexities of climate change.

Public engagement with climate change post-Brexit : a centre-right perspective (Guide)

How can climate change reporters, organisations, institutions and campaigners navigate the often problematic landscape post-Brexit Britain? Many climate professionals, journalists and campaigners have stated their difficulties when approaching those holding values aligned to centre-right politics. This guide, specific to the UK, aims to help its readers find the best language (and what to avoid) to convey climate change science in the best possible way to a centre-right audience.

Reporting on Climate Adaptation (Website and online resources)

The Reporting on Climate Adaptation project seeks to arm journalists with the tools needed to report on the ever growing range of tools available for the public, those in business or governance to adapt to the impacts of rapid climate change. As publics become increasingly aware of climate change there has been an “explosion of information and ideas” about adaptation that is not always well organised or readily available to reporters. This set of guides aims to help reporters in accurately reporting on the complexities of climate adaptation and effectively raise public awareness.

“Our hope is that this evolving guide will enable reporters to better deal with the complexities of this story over the long term.”


7 Ways to Use Data Effectively (Infographics)

An infographic and list of tips by Climate Tracker on how to make the most of data when covering climate change.

Beginners guide to writing about climate change (Handbook)

This handbook created by Climate Tracker includes exercises, case studies and tips on how to cover climate change for newcomers or those who want to take their first steps towards climate science reporting.

Climate Change on Television: What the Paris Agreement Means for Broadcasters (Report)

TV remains a main source of information for UK citizens and climate change is one of the today’s most pressing issues. Broadcasters can play a key role in informing their audiences about the challenges that climate change poses and how to deal with them. However, broadcasters around the world have had difficulties framing and portraying it as a solely environmental issues and ignoring its social, political and economic implications. This report broadly introduces these issues and also provides suggestions for ways in which broadcasters can produce more informative and more engaging climate change content for their audience, in light of last year’s Paris Agreement.

Faith and Climate Change – Talking with People of 5 Major Faiths (Guide)

This guide, created by Climate Outreach in collaboration with the interfaith group GreenFaith, explores and seeks to explain the links between religion, language and climate change. As faith often shapes people’s belief system, it is an important factor to consider when communicating climate change. As a practical guide it offers language that can work with the world’s five main faith groups (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism) and across faiths but also explore cases in which language simply fails.

Klima 101: A Climate Change Guidebook for Philippine Journalists (Book/guide)

This book aims at helping Filipino journalists, editors, teachers and trainers to understand and face the complexities of climate change reporting. It gives a general overview of climate change, the kind of data needed to cover the issue and how to report it effectively. The book is divided into chapters with background information to guide journalists in their work.

Managing the Psychological Distance of Climate Change (Webinar & guide)

How do you overcome the “psychological distance” associated with climate change? One of the biggest challenges for researchers and journalists alike is how to actively engage the public with such a complex and overwhelming subject. This webinar and guide by Climate Outreach


Communicating Climate Change Uncertainty (Guide and Handbook)

Uncertainty is one of the main aspects of climate change and perhaps the hardest to convey to the public. This guide and handbook, produced by Climate Outreach, seeks to give journalists a helping hand to communicate uncertainty, face the climate skeptics whilst still trying to engage the wider public as much as possible.


Communicating climate change adaptation – A practical guide to values-based communication (Guide)

Created by Climate Outreach, this guide offers a summary of what engagement means, and provides insights on climate change communication for adaptation strategy based on personal values. Even if it was originally produced as a collaboration with the Scottish government and has region-specific examples, this guide can be used by global public bodies, private and third sector organisations as well as anyone who wishes to communicate climate change adaptation more effectively.  

Pacific Media and Climate Change Toolkit (Manual)

Good climate science reporting is vital to the Pacific region, one of the areas most affected by climate change. Sharing news and information about the issue can help living communities adapt and respond to the challenges they face and learn more about the factors that have an impact in the area’s sustainable development. This toolkit includes practical ways in which journalists can improve their climate change coverage as well as a series of factsheets with concise information to support their reports on broader environmental issues.


Climate change in Africa: a guidebook for journalists (Guidebook)

This book published by UNESCO specifically targets African journalists and aims to help them reporting on the complexity of climate change across the continent. This book was published after consultation with African journalists and climate change specialists who highlighted the gaps in African media coverage of climate change. The guidebook seeks to fill these gaps and provide a tool for all the African journalists who wish to cover climate science issues.


FLEGT: Helping journalists report on efforts to combat illegal logging (Website & online resources)

This multimedia resource was produced to mainly help reporters cover the European Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action plan (FLEGT), an initiative aimed at combatting illegal logging. Created by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network in association with the EU FLEGT Facility, this multimedia toolkit is nonetheless useful to any journalist who wishes to report on illegal logging around the world.