Journalism students Louis Sidwell and Stephen Johns were at the Executive Business Centre, Bournemouth University to cover the MEC 2011 conference live on Twitter. This is the archive of their tweets in chronological order; the day as it evolved, in 250-plus tweets:
Incidentally, hope you like our new background and profile image @ClimateConf!
It all kicks off in just over half an hour. First up will be the topic Global Issues/Local Contexts. Stay tuned for an intro vlog in a sec!
Visualising the conference – second update on the live #mec2011 blog with a couple of pics of the venue up before it gets busy. Enjoy!
It’s 09:30 am, people have started arriving and I have just had my first cup of tea. Things are picking up here at the #mec2011 conference..
Annika Egan Sjölander (Umeå University) is now going to explore “Why Media Matters: Democratic Handling of Complex Environmental Issues”
Role of mass media: to provide an arena for public discussion (public sphere) – mass media, itself an actor, offers a forum for deliberation
In nuclear waste field the media has played an important role to overcome the formal boundaries that the political process has formulated.
Media needs to be watchdog and review decision makers actions. Journalists need to be the voice of the people on the street, Sjölander says.
Opening Discussion: Live blog post updated http://bit.ly/fk3o14
Sjölander also highlighted the importance and struggle of converting consumers to biofuels, which Sweden is aiming to promote and improve
Juan Carlos Águila Coghlan (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) now, covering ‘Television Coverage of Cancun Summit on Spanish TV’ #mec2011
Journalism becomes a social reality for readers, which in turn affects the political agenda, opening remark by Juan Carlos Águila Coghlan
Investigating TV news coverage of Cancun #ClimateChange Summit, Juan Carlos discovered that framing was almost 60% negative on first day!!
The final day, however, was the opposite – around 56% of coverage was positive! Juan Carlos concludes that #ClimateChange is not important…
…for TV media in Spain, and that the orientation of the news (framing) is strongly influenced by TV media’s editorial line.
Coverage of the Summit peaked on first day and the last day of the Cancun #ClimateChange Summit, Carlos found.
@alexlockwood speaking now, covering Affecting Environments: emotional experiences between media and place in the Save Our Forests campaign
Campaign for Save Our Forests a victory for social media, @alexlockwood found. 38 Degrees campaigns and Twitter campaigns very influential
Social media was so feted a scuffle broke out as to who should be credited for it!! The coalition was seemingly shocked at the huge outcry.
Pieter Maeseele (University of Antwerp) next up, with ‘Mediating environmental change: choose conflict’ #mec2011
Nothing will be reached if focus is on gaining scientific consenus as moment 1 scientist says “I disagree” consensus is lost, Maeseele says.
Central research question should be: “Whether and to what extent do news media facilitate democratic debate?” It is a reflexive circuit of…
…social actors <-> media citizens <-> and citizens. Focus should be on promoting #conflict rather than aiming for scientific consensus
A (continued): Big Society just sounds like the American Dream, just as ambiguous [!!]
Bit of trouble covering lively Q&A after first panel at #mec2011. Could delegates state name when they ask questions? Step in, chair, do!
Sjölander: We have a lot of research focusing on media and political events. I want to raise the question for the need to look over time.
..certain viewpoints.. stark comparison to Big Society ideal etc. Emotive discourse are sometimes excluded from “rational” debates in public
Q: Re: Big Society. Tho BS ideal is mainly smokescreen for #cuts, is it not also a viable and positive idea? Should we not have an ethical…
…and green alternative to BS? A: @alexlockwood Yes indeed, but a politically driven campaign doesn’t feel right to me. In many ways…
…the BS is already here. People already volunteer and work for public good. The debate is how can we make public ownership better and…
…not just accept it at face-value. Green co-operatives are already here. Campaigns are already ongoing. (e.g #SaveOurForests etc)
Short break now, be back in 15 minutes or so =] take it easy and engage on Twitter and check out the blog!! #mec2011
Back from short break, up next is James Painter (Reuters Institute for Study of Journalism): Reporting from Copenhagen and Cancun Summits
Copenhagen: Who was there? Over 30,000 people registered. How much did it get covered in the media? Absolutely extraordinary event in terms…
…of number of journalists at the event. China and Brazil had more than 100 journalists each, for example. Represents a breakthrough in amount…
Listening to ex-BBC journalist J Painter’s talk at #mec2011. His stressed disclaimer he’s not part of BBC now gets chuckle from audience.
of coverage from “developing” countries. Around 2,000 members from nearly 250 Uni’s worldwide.. 280 professors attended!
You’d expect US, UK etc would lead in no. of articles published in print media, James says. However it was Brazil + India that led the way.
These media events are going to be drawn to personalisation, dramatisation, etc. As a result the actual #ClimateScience was under-reported.
Cancun Summit: very different context, lower expectations and much fewer heads of state attended. Different political positions compared to…
…Copenhagen. Mexico played a hugely significant role @ Cancun. NGOs and media kept apart from negotiators. Interesting hearing negotiators…
…saying they could come to agreements due to less hassle, James says. Cancun also had much less registered participants than Copenhagen.
Surprisingly, there was very little US coverage on networks. But what are the reasons for “climate fatigue”, James asks? Appears that…
…developing countries’ coverage of #ClimateChange Summits are more sustained than UK coverage, for example India’s coverage more stable.
James Painter details issues for future, including international differences, prevalence of climate denialism in recent years, and…
…framing in the media, changes within the media affecting coverage. #ClimateChange is a difficult subject to report on, James says, as…
…it’s difficult for journalists to report on, and for audiences to maintain interest in. The worst effects are also a long way off.
Rupert Read (University of East Anglia) on now with ‘The language that mediates positive environmental change – or environmental decay’
…that framing doesn’t detract from important issues, and it is inappropriate to use neutral language free from emotional ties, for example.
Radical questioning of #development needs to be examined. Better quality of life needs to be a focus, + learning from the past, Rupert says.
Rupert places a large emphasis in re-framing concepts and terms in organising our responses to large-scale and harmful events such as…
…#ClimateChange etc. It is language that mediates between us and reality, however essentially we are already *part* of reality and not…
…separate, and we need to remember that. Language can often make it seem that there is a distinction between “us” and reality when really…
…there is no distinction. So it isn’t just language that we need to question but mediation itself affecting our mindsets, Rupert concludes.
Q + A now. Q to Rupert: Where is the power, political economy etc? A from Rupert: I have a hypothesis of why there are more climate-deniers in…
…the developed world vs. developing world, and it may be because the developing world has a vested interest in maintaining such a state…
…of affairs. Re-framing is so necessary because of concrete things such as money, e.g. large companies lobbying etc. (summarised)
Rupert: [on MP expenses scandal] other countries said ‘this is small beer, you should come here to see corruption’
Tony Hamilton Q: what would you think about stopping the term unsustainable living?
Rupert A: sustainable living is an improvement but not enough, we have to explicitly talk about future people
Jenny Alexander (BU) doing a sterling job keeping order at this lively Q&A #mec2011
People here from all over the world today, Sweden, Belgium, Chile, Sunderland, we’ve got them all! #mec2011
Rupert: Life becomes less meaningful if it looks like it’s going to come to an end
I’m sure I just saw Cyndi Lauper outside the Business School… #conferenceentertainment
Dan Glass (Plane Stupid) now with ‘The Media is the Message’. Focus on aviation as main perpetuators of CO2 emissions…
People take direct action when ‘democracy’ fails them, Dan says. “We don’t have time for politicians to act”
BU’s Stuart Allan is chairing the afternoon session. He was my lecturer for News Theory last year. #mec2011
Pictures now of examples of direct action aimed at stopping aviation emission, airport expansion, etc. Stopping problem at it’s source..
Stansted airport occupation: All 50+ occupiers were under 21! Genuine concern @ the state of the future. Direct action creating media…
…strategies to promote message. Emphasis on the use of social media sites such as Twitter becoming very important in spreading activism.
Direct Action and the State: Police infiltration recently uncovered in UK media.. Police infiltrating environmental movement – State abuse?
Dan Glass once glued himself to former PM Gordon Brown #mec2011
Now Anita Howarth (Kingston University) ‘Whaling Wars of the Antarctic: The case of Sea Sheppard, ‘Eco-Terrorism’ and Multi-Media Activism’
The grey area is the protection of endangered species in de-territorialised international waters, Anita says. Once a species is declared…
…endangered it is presumed that they will be looked after. This isn’t always the case in areas such as international waters, as stated.
Implications for the whaling wars of Antarctica: It is difficult to “parachute” journalists into the region, or to set up a base there.
@SeaSheperd, a conservation society, has been able to use GPS and radar-connected helium balloons to find and track Japanese whaling ships…
But the most dominant formats that @SeaSheperd have used are New Media and TV: the reality TV show ‘Whaling Wars’. With New Media, they…
…have utilised YouTube and other formats with great effect while print/broadcast journalists have a hard time *getting* to those regions…
…so the narrative is presented mainly through imagery taken by @SeaSheperd with great effect.
Annika Egan Sjölander (Umeå University) once again with: ‘The Missing Public: A Sought-After Ingredient + Constrainted Entity…
…in the News Discourse on Environmental Risks’. Aim is to analyse role of citizen voices and representations of the public.
Representatives of ‘the public’ need to be heard in discourses more.. Sjölander identified 3 dominant forms of public participation:
1. Public as an anonymous collective e.g. public opinion 2. Passive/reactive voice, and 3. the active voice (most rare)
Swedish nuclear waste news discourse: any country using nuclear power for civil/military purposes have problems taking care of waste…
Sweden seen as “role-model” and ‘ahead’ in decision making process (with Finland) – to host a nuclear waste facility
‘Missing public’ is a sought-after ingredient. New Media can offer opportunities for participation. Issues of power always present though.
Maxine Newlands now, (University of East London) with ‘Where is the ‘Counter’ in Counter-Politics? #ClimateChange and New Media’
Premise of this paper is the ‘Climate Camp’ – combination of official hierarchical organisation/action e.g. Greenpeace.
Important to have a voice. Media tabloids often frame green activists as ‘militant’ or ‘eco-warriors’: negative frameworks, Maxine says.
In about 20 minutes time is everyone’s favourite part of the day: Q&A #mec2011!
And if you’ve got a question that you want us to put to any of today’s speakers, do tweet in! #mec2011
Fences used at camp very symbolic, Maxine says – are they keeping people in or out? Containment, conformity, autonomous space…
Larry Pryor (USC/Annenberg School of Journalism & Communication) Not Yet a Butterfly: Climate Science Blogs as Emerging Spaces of Discourse
Why is the climate debate so fierce, Larry asks? Emotions are raised because we are talking about something that is irreplaceable, he says.
This apocalyptic message is “really dark” and emphasises vulnerability, which hasn’t done the cause much good. “The direction has to change”
But what is the counter to this, Larry asks? He believes it’s in the “blogosphere”. We have been ‘subjected’ to top-down gvt. Approaches…
…which have failed, he states. Mass media counts for less and less in the States. Great mistrust from the ‘top-down’ gvt. Approach.
Mass media represents the status quo, part of the elite conspiracy, Larry says. It’s not going to break free, it’s been colonised by the…
…fossil fuels industry. Change has to come from the bottom-up, from the ‘blogosphere’. Again stresses importance of #NewMedia+the internet.
Larry discusses the negative framing of the ‘blogosphere’ and growing gvt. involvement in said sphere, which can be a sinister element.
The bell rings: 3 mins left of Larry’s speech. His reply? “Thank you, I think the third ring is when the Holy Spirit comes..” [laughter]
Need for blogosphere to emphasise visual info, connect with people, bridge science with common sense. Great opportunities for scholars etc.
If you aren’t looking at #NewMedia, Larry says, you’re missing a very large area of discourse. 1 post in 1 day can accumulate 500+ comments!
Q+A: Rupert Read “I’m really disappointed that you didn’t mention the collective spirit at Climate Camp”
Maxine: “In fairness I only had 12 minutes and was only taking a snap-shot of the camp as a whole”
Rupert: “Your opinion has no basis”
Just come back from a mini-caffeine break, #mec2011 to resume momentarily.
This panel is entitled: The Power of Mediation. First up is Mat Hope (University of Bristol)
Paper is: The New York Times and the “Beleaguered People of Louisiana”: Communicating the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill as a Social Disaster
Purpose of study was to see how New York Times ‘framed’ the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and what the implications were for this.
The spill as a ‘social’ disaster: Around 85% of the time the NYT framed the disaster as a ‘social’ event. Human element of the story rose.
The ‘executive responsibility’, Hope describes how the framing in NYT focused mainly on the executive vs. BP or legilsative responsibility
Conclusions? The ‘human story’ is *still* the most reported – story of ‘society’ vs. ‘nature’. Focus on loss of ‘way of life’, Hope states.
Environment seen as ‘extension’ of social life- something we can ‘control’. The environment is seen as social entity, not a natural entity.
Hope states that it is important to show narratives and their implications. Emphasis on ‘environmental’ implications rather than social.
Now we have Ulrike Heine (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen) with ‘Reconsidering Photo-Journalism in the Face of Climate Change’
Heine describes how landscape and panoramic photographs play a crucial role in photo-journalism documenting #ClimateChange
Heine says we must acknowledge the contextual framing of images and their importance.
Found it slightly difficult to hear Heine at the back of the room, unfortunately!
Now we have Jenny Alexander from @BournemouthUni with ‘Advertising and Climate Change’
Alexander currently examining Act on CO2 gvt. initiative adverts aiming at anxiety-promotion.. received over 1,000 complaints from public!
Said Act on CO2 advert can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w62gsctP2gc
Next examining in the Plane Stupid (2009) advert in the same vein.. also received complaints resulting in its removal but still on Youtube..
And that can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMnzSvZP_kE
And next the 1010 climate change commercial, also controversial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfnddMpzPsM
But what is the value of advertising environmental change? Knowledge about the environment comes mainly from mass media/TV, Alexander found.
Ads are a form of popular culture, occupying narrative space and collective imagery/collective consciousness. Can we do something different?
Michael Goodman (King’s College London) on now, with ‘Star/Poverty Space as Poverty-tainment’ #mec2011
(Christine Barnes couldn’t make it but also worked with Goodman with the paper)
Celebrities are aligning themselves with campaigns and they are used to promote/sell/develop products, campaigns and the like
The business of celebrity-driven business is just that: a business, Goodman argues.
It is the images of celebrities in spaces/places of poverty/crisis that are the most important in circulation of the Poverty-tainment.
They are our proxies to understanding poverty-stricken spaces/places, Goodman says.
Debut of poverty and humanitarian crisis over, they have made it to the ‘mainstream’ celebrity-filled media. A ‘growing market of emotions’.
Q+A now. Q: Problem with environment, people switch off from it. If you just have serious tone, people won’t engage with it. You remember it
A (Mat Hope): Greenpeace etc have been doing publicity stunts for a long time, now I think we’re ready for more sophisticated debates.
Mat: I agree with you but think we’re ready for sophisticated debates now also.
Mat > Alexander: It’s the ‘drip-drip’ of many messages and constant intervening that helps to change public perception (summary)
Q: Does it do more bad than good to use celebrity/commercial/’glossy’ reporting+ads to promote change which may require radical engagement?
A: Heine: Photographers are informing people, [photos] get out of your hands eventually, what [people] do with it is important.
Interesting panel + Q+A session, went quite quickly so sorry we couldn’t cover it all. Short coffee break and will be back soon.
Back again. Now time for the final panel before the closing address entitled: ‘Conservation, Media and Pedagogy.’
First on the panel is John Blewitt (Aston University) with ‘Researching the Public Pedagogy of Environmental and Conservation Media’
Focus on WildScreen films and awards ceremony, and the impact filmmakers can have on the environment.
Filmmakers have to balance making films for money and for righteous causes. Some films/docs may never be shown. Balance is necessary.
Margarida Sardo and Emma Weitkamp – Scientific Evidence and Environmental Policy Making: A Portuguese Case Study
Case study of Portugal, focusing on understanding the role of environmental consultants. Are they the ‘forgotten mediators?’
Findings: 1. Role of environmental consultants within the policy-making cycle. 2. Barriers to including science within policy-making cycle.
Environmental consultants play a key role, working with local+national gvts being able to be brought into policy-making cycle ‘at any point’
Environmental consultants are key mediators between scientific research and policy-makers.
There are barriers however, Sardo says: Policy-makers don’t find research easy to understand, insufficient money to incorporate research.
Timing of the policy-cycle also is a potential barrier. Better mediation can be sought, however.
Some of these results can be country-specific, Sardo says. But environmental consultants’ importance should not be overlooked.
Paul Stevensup now (Bournemouth Uni) with: ‘Sustainable wellbeing: Linking the personal and the planetary’
Eudaimonic wellbeing is rising in importance: Finding meaning in life, Stevens says.
The “ecopsychology approach” embeds us in our environment – “We too are Nature”
Most of the focus, Stevens says, is on the ‘Now’, e.g. “Are you happy now?”, rather than “Will you be happy in 10 years?”
Stevens states that, essentially, if people are “well”, sustainability will follow. Things that make you feel ‘well’ are linked to nature.
Natural environment actually helps people with mental illness. The environment is inherently linked to our own ‘wellbeing’, and our futures.
Sy Taffel (University of Bristol) now up with: Media, Materiality and the Environment: Exploring the Ethics and Sustainability of Hardware
Thinking of Environmental cycles – e.g looking @ nitrogen system, Taffel says, there’s no clear input or output. Linked to #sustainability.
“There is a series of ethical challenges surrounding the material consequences of the hardware that underpins digital culture.”
In 2007 an IT research/analysis group predicted that global IT/comm. technology industry was responsible for 2% of global CO2 emissions.
As technology expands, so does its environmental and ecological impact. E.g. 81% of the energy used by a PC is used in PRODUCING it.
Planned obsolescence in current tech = short life span due to upgrade culture/profit motive. Modern phones have a 12/24 month “lifespan”.
E-Waste is damaging ecologies worldwide, primarily due to toxic substances used in modern technologies.
Way forward? Re-design life-cycle of tech, Taffel says. Need to take inspiration from existing bio-cycles such as nitrogen cycle.
Now up we have Julie Doyle (University of Brighton).
Paper: ‘What’s the Environment got to do with Media Studies?’: Exploring the Possibilities and Challenges for Curriculum Development in HE’
“Where is ‘the environment’ within Media Studies?” Doyle asks. Students don’t always relate it to the discipline.
Encouraging interdisciplinary teaching/research, sharing good teaching practices and encouraging self-reflexive practises, Doyle suggests.
Brilliant and insightful presentations today @mec2011. Now for the ‘closing address’ with some invited speakers =] first up is Adrian Newton
And here’s Adrian Newton (Bournemouth University) formerly the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).
Julie Doyle now (Uni of Brighton) and author of the forthcoming book ‘Mediating Climate Change’.
Emotion links to meaningful engagement. The importance of language cannot be overlooked either, linked to ‘framing’ and #media coverage too.
Neil Gavin, (University of Liverpool) and Chair of MeCCSA Climate Change, Environment and Sustainability Network speaking now.
For summary posts of talks, pics and videos and podcast, see our blog at: http://bit.ly/fk3o14
This version has been lightly edited for clarity and to exclude retweets. Complete coverage @ClimateConf
The live coverage of MEC 2011, including this Twitter feed, was brought to you by BU journalism graduates and students: Angelica Jopson @angelicajopson, Gaia Manco @gaiamuffin, Louis Sidwell @LouisSidwell, Nicholas Summers @jetsetnick, Stephen Johns @jonnybristol, and Shreshtha Trivedi @shreshthatrivedi.
Thanks also to Saeed Rashid @saeedrashid and Paul Hughes.