Thursday, May 26, 2011

Out of the Media Spotlight

A couple of articles caught my attention recently, but not for their direct content.

The first article was about the recent earthquake in Northeast Burma (Shan State), the other was an update on the toxic mud flow that occurred in Hungary about six months ago.

What is common about both of these is that they are out of the media spotlight. The Burmese earthquake was mentioned the first day it happened and then was forgotten while the world continued to focus on Japan. The Hungarian disaster was news at the time, but there has been almost no news since then.

It is interesting that in the age of the internet, blogs, tweets, blackberries, and smartphones - what is important is still dictated by the media.

The question is: what does this mean for the environment?

If we consider that there are very many environmental issues, some topics will be either neglected or only occassionally addressed. Where this manifests itself the most is in the political arena where often the issued addressed by politicians are those which are most in the public eye and of interest to their contributors.

Their also seems to be a bias in the media toward business/economics reporting. Everyday there seems to be a new program on business, yet there are few programs dedicated to the environment.

Science reporting by the mainstream media is poor (and sometimes completely wrong). This often results in incorrect perceptions about the environment (and other science issues).

Luckily, There are a number of excellent and very up-to-date websites scientists and environmental specialists.

There is a lot of information on the environment available, but it is often not available in the mainstream media. Look at the links on the right hand side of this blog for some of them.