Weekend Question: How to deal with local media?

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"Weekend Question: How to deal with local media?"

A reader offers up these questions:

Have any readers had success in talking to local media to raise awareness of global warming? What tactics have been used? What worked and what didn’t work?

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42 Responses to Weekend Question: How to deal with local media?

  1. Dave Snider says:

    I am local media.

    I am a tv meteorologist who thinks climate change is happening.

    I need local experts in biology, wildlife experts from the conservation department and our regional climate centers to make available information on the shifts and changes they see.

    Your USDA representative should be able to talk about growing zones. (Ours shifted a few years ago).

    If YOU are wanting to talk with local media, have hard and fast examples to back up your point. The science is important, but remember that any story will likely be condensed into about 90 seconds. Make your interview answers short and to the point. Bring props or take the interview somewhere that adds visual information to back up your points.

    And be prepared to defend your answers and explain why this isn’t Al Gore’s personal research.

    Most importantly, you’ll likely be talking to someone with little to no science background. If you plan to talk to a third grader, you’ll do fine.

    It sounds bad, but your information will be received and reported in a correct and understandable manner to the tv, print or radio audience.

    Good luck.

  2. Mark says:

    I’ve been writing articles for them. Our local town paper is very understaffed and they publish them very thankfully.

    The local Global Warming group has negotiated with the local paper to publish a monthly column, written by them.

  3. MARodger says:

    Letter pages are good. Demolishing any skeptical comments contained in a local paper doesn’t take much & the short format of letters probably has more impact than longer pieces on a subject which, lets be honest, probably bores the pants off most newpaper readers. Letters do allow a drip-drip approach at an appathetic public. And with ever-falling standards of journalism in such papers, the letter page is an increasing attraction for its readers.

  4. Peter M says:

    Local media here in Connecticut has scant to non existence coverage of global warming. The Major Newspaper ‘The Hartford Courant’ is owned by Newscorp. Its sad that the oldest daily published newspaper in America is owned by Fox now.

    Owing to the liberal leanings of the state, however they are careful not to ‘indoctrinate’ the diminishing paper readers they have left with the T Party ‘view’.I have seen however nothing about global warming on their Online addition.

    The Day, in New London has had a few food articles on AGW; The New Haven Register- nothing.

    Local TV – again nothing. I called up WFSB – which as some decent meteorologists- nothing here as well.

    During the recent severe and catastrophic weather- I never heard the term global warming’ used to describe what was happening, or might be a cause.

    I have called my local state reps office- a Democrat- again mostly total ignorance. I called Senator Richard Blumenthal’s local office- here there was more understanding of the greenhouse effect- but it seems many do not seem to be able to connect the dots with soaring C02 rates and what it will bring, and the recent extreme weather.

    Talk about paleo climates of earths distant past- and how they relate to today- no conceptual understanding. So from my perspective, I am probably one of the most informed non scientists in the state. At the University of Connecticut- and other state colleges and universities- public and private- the environmental science departments- especially those in climate science and atmospherics are aware.

    Those in Bio science- not so much.

    Connecticut will be a vulnerable state in the future as AGW begins to accelerate. A 1meter rise along the shoreline- a conservative estimate by 20140 will likely bring havoc and cost billions to mitigate.

    The states EPA is excellent however, and the Governors office under former Republican Jodi Rell and new Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy have been proactive and understanding what AGW will cost and do to the state.

    The media however has done a very poor job educating those here what we will face in the coming years.

    So to recap- some bad stuff, and some good stuff- but not nearly enough information to the public, that their lives will be changing drastically here in the Nutmeg state sooner then they ever thought possible- by a media either in hibernation- or being bought off.

  5. Peter M says:

    Typo above a 1 meter sea rise along the CT shoreline by 2040.

  6. Prospace Environmentalist says:

    Bribe the editors and journalists. That tactic works very well for the tea baggers and the big corporations.

  7. Wes Rollehy says:

    I agree with those who suggest becoming part of the media. That is what I did. After a letter I wrote received some good support, I called the editor of my very local (town population ~35K) newspaper and asked about getting a regular column since that paper already had a policy of using local writers to fill the editorial pages.

    Besides getting the facts right, the one thing that garners the most favorable feedback for me is that I try to tie each topic to some aspect of local life. Morgan Hill, CA is a one time agricultural community situated on the edge of San Jose and going through all of the transitions implied by those facts. That makes it easy to associate climate change with local agriculture, transportation, land use, growth, education and all with the theme that climate change changes everything.

    The most important thing is make a fast end to the somebody should syndrome by changing somebody should to I will.

  8. joyce says:

    Invite them to participate in your events. We’ve done that with a regional Climate Summit we’re putting on mid March for volunteers working in the climate change field. It’s a program to help with skill building to make impacts in various sectors–working with local government, transportation, energy programs, etc. A local environmental reporter will be giving our wrap-up titled: “Warming World, Cool Response. Does the West Coast Offer Hope?”
    In other words–if you know a reporter who understands, get them involved. At least hopefully you’ll get some coverage, and they’ll likely continue to cover your efforts.
    (If you’ld like to see our agenda for the day, I’ll provide off blog)

  9. Lou Grinzo says:

    I’ve had mixed experiences with local media (Rochester, NY). The main paper in town (Democrat & Chronicle) published a sizable piece on oil I wrote a few years ago, but they also routinely run letters from a weatherman at one of our local TV stations who’s a vocal denier. About a year ago he sent them a letter crowing about how the cold weather in the US and parts of Europe had chilled Al Gore and AGW proponents. (Yes, that’s the level of nonsense he stoops to, at least when he isn’t signing one of those bogus petitions we’re always hearing about.)

    Back to the oil piece — when I sent it in, I made sure to use the latest information about oil supplies and which countries had already peaked in oil production, quote various experts, etc. I got a call from someone at the paper who asked in almost shocked tones, “Where does all this information come from???” I told her it was all government reports and independently verified information, which it was. (I always make a point of steering clear of the crazies among those following peak oil.) I offered to send her the citations, and she declined. In other words, they had no idea who the heck I was or if I was selling them a pack of lies, but they ran with it anyway.

    Reading the online comments at the paper’s web site isn’t reassuring. I get the feeling that the only people there are either completely uninterested in climate or energy issues, or are so locked into their views that nothing will change them.

  10. Steven Leibo says:

    In dealing with local media or any media for that matter there are two different challenges involved. Getting them interested and knowing how to work with them. Given that the climate crisis is pretty much about everything it is fairly easy to link it to other topics. I do a lot of media on various international issues, Egypt for example last week and made sure that I linked rising food prices to developments there. For people who don’t have the media coming to them it is important to know that local media needs you to fill their needs.. i.e. a local link, timed to some very specific event and something worth filming and not just a lecture but perhaps a local environmental fair. Once the media arrives one needs to work with them. With that in mind I have written an article many people have found helpful. It is located at

    http://www.historians.org/Perspectives/issues/2007/0702/0702vie1.cfm

  11. Barry says:

    Become part of the local media. That is also what I have done.

    Local media is the easiest place to get a foothold as they are understaffed and need content.

    I also strongly suggest you pick online local media to publish in.

    First of all it has staying power and isn’t gone with the recycling the next day.

    Secondly, I’m amazed how new ways of looking at climate data that I publish in local media sometimes gets picked up within a day or two into national articles — thanks to google. The national press needs content and will google themes as they prep articles.

    Also all the big corps and groups and NGOs do google alerts on their names…so if you publish something that is interesting/unique you will often get a response from them. I’ve been contacted by a wide range of biz and groups as a result of articles in which I’ve talked about them in relationship to climate change. This has led to good back and forth email conversations on the topic.

    Local readers want local info. So I try to pick a global topic like sea level rise or water and start with a discussion of how it will affect the local area. Often nobody has done this outside government funded reports. Data is there but nobody has put it out for locals to understand. People will act on local threats first.

    Most important is to be accurate to the science while offering something that can be done about it. Climate Progress has some great resources on how to have the greatest impact.

    Just like we don’t talk enough to our families and friends about climate threats and solutions…we also don’t talk enough in our local media.

  12. The great journalist Ross Gelbspan posted an essay:

    U.S. Press Coverage of the Climate Crisis: A Damning Betrayal of Public Trust

    (snip)

    ….Separate from the issue of balance is the responsibility of reporters to make subject matter understandable to the public. One of the first impacts of climatic instability is an increase in weather extremes – longer droughts, more heat waves, more severe storms and the fact that we get much more of our rain and snow in intense, severe downpours.

    That is reflected in the fact that extreme weather events constitute a much larger portion of news budgets than they did 20 years ago.

    Given the dramatic increase of extreme weather events – you would think that journalists, in covering these stories, would include the line: “Scientists associate this pattern of violent weather with global warming.” They don’t.

    A few years ago I asked a top editor at CNN why, given the increasing proportion of news budgets dedicated to extreme weather, they did not make this connection. He told me, “We did. Once.” But it triggered a barrage of complaints from oil companies and automakers who threatened to withdraw all their ads from CNN if the network continued to connect weather extremes to global warming. Basically the industry intimidated CNN into dropping the one connection to which the average viewer could most easily relate.

    http://www.heatisonline.org/contentserver/objecthandlers/index.cfm?id=7743&method=full

  13. Mickey says:

    It seems on a lot of other issues they often will speak to a university professor or expert, but on climate change for some reason they feel they need both sides. For example, on the economy, usually the media will have an economics or business professor or an economiston it. I think the best thing is to try and convince them to speak to the experts and also convince those in the science field to be in the media more. This issue has been too dominated by the political activists and not enough by the scientist. Having Al Gore is bound to fail as people will ignore him if they disagree with his political ideology whereas having a scientist who is not involved in politics will be more effective. Also many businesses are making strong efforts to deal with the impacts of climate change. Have some of them come on and talk about what they are doing to help mitigate climate change. I noticed even Coca Cola now is donating quite a bit of money to help save the Polar Bear population whose greatest threat by far is climate change. Likewise many in the business community such as George Soros are strongly for taking action. Otherwise talk about success stories here as many assume changes cannot be made without seeing their standard of living drop dramatically thus why they are opposed. If they can see changes can be made without lowering their standard of living they are more likely to support action. Finally I would encourage companies who are taking strong action to include this in their television advertisements and this can be helpful too.

  14. Christopher Yaun says:

    Bill Moyers on Media:

    “But you, my colleagues, can’t give up. If you do, there’s no chance any public memory of everyday truths – the tangible, touchable, palpable realities so vital to democracy – will survive. We would be left to the mercy of the agitated amnesiacs who “make” their own reality, as one of them boasted at the time America invaded Iraq, in order to maintain their hold on the public mind and the levers of power. You will remember that in Orwell’s novel “1984,” Big Brother banishes history to the memory hole, where inconvenient facts simply disappear. Control of the present rests on obliteration of the past. The figure of O’Brien, who is the personification of Big Brother, says to the protagonist, Winston Smith: “We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.” And they do. The bureaucrats in the Ministry of Truth destroy the records of the past and publish new versions. These in turn are superseded by yet more revisions. Why? Because people without memory are at the mercy of the powers that be; there is nothing against which to measure what they are told today. History is obliterated.”

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/02/15-7
    Is This Fight Private Or Can Anyone Get In?

  15. John Mason says:

    It’s well worth getting involved with local media. If there’s an unusual weather event locally they often ring me for comments (I prefer emailing them TBH because they get reproduced verbatim then).

    There will often be the question of how global warming may have influenced things and I try to give a straight-to-the-point answer. In one case that was a negative – in the aftermath of an F2 tornado that badly beat up a village near Aberystwyth a few years ago I did live TV interviews and had to repeat the point that rotating deep convective updraughts that form under favourable shear conditions (did lots of arm-waving to demonstrate)are the cause of tornadoes, and that no high wind-shear-global warming connection was known to exist at the time.

    The reporter looked a little disappointed, but it’s imperative to stick to what we know at all times or the deniers will jump all over it.

    Warm Conveyors are another matter altogether and it is quite reasonable to expect these to become progressively more severe over the coming decades if we sit on our arses and do nothing to tackle the issues – 7% per degree C is not to be sniffed at given the problems they already cause to UK Western Seaboard places like Wales, the Lake District and Scotland… that type of setup caused e.g. the disastrous 2009 Cumbrian floods. I’ve happily made myself unpopular amongst certain locals by making such comments on-air/in the papers!! To hell with them – like I say, tell it how it is – something this blog does particularly well!

    Cheers – John

  16. CW says:

    Phone them up, talk to them, do their “fact-checking” for them by sending them the right snippets from the best sources on the subject in order to lay their arguments out as wrong.

    Example?

    One of their editorials has swallowed and regurgitated the propaganda that “thousands of scientists, under the National Academies of Science (NAS), signed a petition saying that the science was bogus”?

    Go online, find the head editor’s number and tell him or her that their newspaper is vulnerable here of looking like an organisation that doesn’t fact check. Say that all s/he has to do is check out, like anyone could, the NAS’s own site where they have a dedicated page on how that was a hoax, or illegitimate petition and not the view of the NAS.

    Be friendly but firm.

  17. John Mashey says:

    See What to do about poor science reporting from 2007. I’ve had some luck with this approach and local newspapers.

    I’m afraid letters-to-editor aren’t as useful as one would like, although situations vary. Especially when someone is doing a Gish Gallup, Skeptical Science’s numbered list is invaluable, because you not only can respond tersely enough for an LtE, but it shows onlookers are repetitive the junk is.

  18. David B. Benson says:

    MARodger @3 — Those are not skeptics, merely CRUD perveyors.

  19. Bob Vertrees says:

    From Bob:

    I am on a fairly large advisory group that never gets together but just provides anonymous (except to station leaders) responses to questions about programming put forth by the local Public Radio station. I have responded to questions asked of me about the type of programs to have on the morning show on which the host guides guest(s) in talking about various topics and listeners can call in or submit comments/questions via e-mail, etc. With regard to programs about global warming/climate change (GW/CC), I have recommended the following, and so-far it appears my recommendations have been followed. I have recommended:

    (1) Do not have any more programs like there were up to a couple of years ago where one guest took the position that GW/CC was caused by humans and the other guest took the position that it wasn’t caused by humans. I recommended to not have any more such seemingly “balanced” programs (that many journalists and media hosts seem to like) because this makes the natural-science aspects of GW/CC out to be just another political issue, when it isn’t. Rather the overwhelming scientific evidence, that has grown more preponderant during the past decade, is that the occurrence of GW/CC and the extent to which it is caused by humans is a scientifically proven, and often empirically measured, fact.;

    (2) However, I have said, what policy actions to take to take to level off and eventually reduce (mitigate) the causes of GWCC, and/or to adapt to impacts that, unfortunately, do come (and are coming already), are good candidates for programs in which knowledgeable and experienced guests put forth different policy recommendations.; and

    (3) I have asked the program organizers to please refrain from having a well-known local TV weatherman (he calls himself a Weatherman-Journalist or something like that) on the show anymore, when he appears to be very knowledgeable about whether or not the recent weather of the past season or two is completely “as normal” or has had any human caused influences. But he really does not have the education, training, and background to do this and, therefore, I believe from talking to some of those who have seen him on TV or heard him on Public Radio, leaves listeners with the impression (and “belief”) that human-caused GW/CC has not been proven scientifically.

    What I have recommended has been based on fairly wide reading, such as (to mention only two) James Hansen’s “Storms of My Grandchildren” and various items in this blog in which Joe Romm gives advice about how to try to improve media coverage.

  20. Bob Vertrees says:

    From Bob:

    I am on a fairly large advisory group that never gets together but just provides anonymous (except to station leaders) responses to questions about programming put forth by the local Public Radio station. I have responded to questions asked of me about the type of programs to have on the morning show on which the host guides guest(s) in talking about various topics and listeners can call in or submit comments/questions via e-mail, etc. With regard to programs about global warming/climate change (GW/CC), I have recommended the following, and so-far it appears my recommendations have been followed. I have recommended:

    (1) Do not have any more programs like there were up to a couple of years ago where one guest took the position that GW/CC was caused by humans and the other guest took the position that it wasn’t caused by humans. I recommended to not have any more such seemingly “balanced” programs (that many journalists and media hosts seem to like) because this makes the natural-science aspects of GW/CC out to be just another political issue, when it isn’t. Rather the overwhelming scientific evidence, that has grown more preponderant during the past decade, is that the occurrence of GW/CC and the extent to which it is caused by humans is a scientifically proven, and often empirically measured, fact.; and

    (2) However, I have said, what policy actions to take to take to level off and eventually reduce (mitigate) the causes of GWCC, and/or to adapt to impacts that, unfortunately, do come (and are coming already), are good candidates for programs in which knowledgeable and experienced guests put forth different policy recommendations.

  21. Edward says:

    1. Whatever you say should be an email so that they can get it verbatim. Otherwise, they will go with whatever “sounds” like what you said. Remember, they don’t understand anything.

    2. Since newspaper readers don’t own computers [!], don’t give them more than 1 URL. 2 or more URLs will insure non-publication. Put the URL at the very end.

    3. Letters to the editor are limited to 200 or 250 words at my local papers. One person is allowed only 1 letter to the editor per month, so use it wisely. Send them an email every month.

  22. Scrooge says:

    I really do think getting involved with local media would be a great step. The things brought up though should tie into local events. I am waiting to see if NOAA comes up to anything regional on their climate page that could be used for references. I started one little project last year dealing with heat stress. But were I live between the gulf and atlantic I think it will take awhile before the wet bulb zero temp makes life unbearable at times. It will come sooner for the southern gulf states but that was out of the area so I let it drop. See I also have this thing I don’t get along with work very well. Now blog science has its place for the layman but I think it will be awhile before we can do away with the review process. So what I guess I am saying it would be nice to have a site that the average person could go to for a reliable source. One that any TV meteorologist could easily use also. Then it would be a lot easier to get the words global warming out to the public.

  23. paulm says:

    The really is effective action only if our leaders can alert the public to this emergency.
    But none seem to have the guts.

  24. TV-Met says:

    I’m also a TV Meteorologist.

    Dave (#1) is correct.

    Being able to connect to things that have already happened locally that viewers can observe for themselves in relation to Climate Change is a good thing (perhaps simply a necessary thing). So if you call the station (perhaps the good folks at WFSB that I know personally)…you’d better have the idea and the local places that manifest it.

    Simply calling the weather department saying, “You should report on Global Warming more” is not going to cut it. If you get them something with an in-market focus that’s tangible (currently happening) and package-able in 90-seconds, complete with someone to interview…Then you’ll have something.

  25. Deb says:

    In this quite remote area of Australia’s south-east, the local media is the main media people read. Print media is extremely important in an area where internet use is expensive and largely not taken up by an aging population (30% uptake might be a bit high). Major newspapers are out of date by the time they get here.

    I am involved in the production of a local newsletter and contribute to it (this is outside the syndicated ‘rural’ press with a few local articles that is now most towns’ local newspaper). Our newsletter, produced at the Neighbourhood House and distributed free every month, is around 20 pages and now has regular articles related to local economies, developing local markets for produce and so on – and so far, without mentioning the climate change words. That way there is no cause for conflict; everyone agrees on these things. The concepts of peak oil and climate change lurk in the background and will be dealt with as they relate to this area.

    The Tattler now has over 200 subscribers and is regularly rung by the local radio station to find out what is on. That enabled us to highlight our event for Sustainable Living Week (a Victorian thing) which was a lunch based on local produce to talk about community supported agriculture. And very well attended, which indicated a potentially high level of interest in developing local markets and supporting local producers.

    As well, one of our local papers will print any of our articles if they are related to events.

    Any awareness raising in the community is good; rural Australia has the highest level of climate change deniers – their spokespeople tend to focus on these areas – so its educate, educate, educate – while holding events that build local communities.

  26. Roger says:

    There are some great insights shared above. Many thanks to everyone!

    Here’s a quick question, perhaps best for Dave (#1) and TV-Met (#23): I’ve heard tell, similar to what richard reports (#12), that some key TV weather folks were, years ago, quietly ‘asked’ to please NOT unduly mention anything about climate change when covering the weather. This came from a usually reliable source. Can you shed any light on this?

    Unrelated comment: George Orwell’s book title was 50 years too early.

  27. Roger says:

    paulm (#22) mentions (paraphrasing) that we will only be able to take effective action if our leaders can alert the public to this emergency.
    But none seem to have the guts (end of paraphrase).

    To repeat part of my longer comment yesterday (now lost in the ‘memory hole’-of-sorts), no truer words were ever stated. And the person to do this public alerting would, of course, logically be none other than our duly elected chief executive, our US Commander-In-Chief Obama, the one person, more than any other, designated to protect us from harm. Right?

    Think about it: One well-written 40-minute “State of the Climate” speech from the White House Oval Office, with paid repetitions on all TV shows, could change it all, overnight! Climate Hawks could relax.

    So, what’s Obama waiting for? Apparently he needs more political cover from climate activists, in the FDR-like “Now go out and make me do it” sense. So, let’s all give him the support he’s looking for.

    This is an ORDER: Tuesday morning (following the Monday Presidents’ Day holiday), without fail, every caring reader of CP WILL CALL President Obama at his office to ask him to please educate and lead misinformed Americans by giving them a clear, concise, informational call to action in a prime-time, nationally-televised “State of the Climate” address.

    Here’s the number to call: 202-456-1111. Volunteer operators will be standing by for your call between the hours of 9AM and 5PM. If you can’t immediately get through, keep trying. A livable climate is at stake for you, your loved ones, and billions of other. THANK YOU!!

    Warm regards,
    Roger

    P.S. If you read this and CAN’T muster whatever it takes to make this one simple phone call to express your opinion to the man who could make such a huge difference, then IMHO, you don’t have any right to complain here, nor when the hell and high water hit you and those you care about.

  28. TV-Met says:

    It’s not that you can’t mention anything about climate change…but it’s got to be purposeful for the audience…which means is HAS to be local, and it HAS to connect to something they experience today (not in the future). You’re just simply not going to be doing the future in 90-seconds in a way that it gains more importance in the fickle mind of a viewer. That type of story belongs on a longform program on or outlets that have more time to devote to individual stories (like the Network news shows or the News Hour, etc.) Even the second-coming of Christ won’t get more than 90-seconds.

    A while ago, I tried to do a story on what the climate of my area was projected to look like at the end of this century under current scenarios. The result: “Borring”…it will never make it past the News Director when the stories of the day include a cop getting shot, 10 people homeless in a fire, taxes going up, teachers being laid off, and a storm coming in day 3. What DOES work is something that’s going to be describable beginning-middle-end in 90-seconds…something that is local to the viewer such that they can go and experience it for themselves (not their grandchildren)…and something that features sound-bytes from a contributing expert that is also local/credible.

    Lots of these future projection dire climate stories are either going to suffer from the lack of available time to communicate the evidence that makes it credible to a varyingly opinionated audience, or it’s going to be too whittled down such that there are too many holes in it.

    Oh…and making it the responsibility of the reporter (and not the person who’s pitching the story) to both become interested in the idea, and do the work of compressing it for the viewing audience needs is not going to work out as well compared to doing the homework ahead of time to make a solid pitch that’s fully contained. Everyone’s going to be working on the story of the day and what’s in the planner for tomorrow.

    More extensive projects are going to be done during “Sweeps” (November, February, May, and July) … July is the throw-away, so you might try that one (because they’re not going to be as strict on what plays there). So you, in essence, would be pitching a sweeps story, and having everything lined up…You’d need the local focus, the local places/things viewers can see for themselves that relate to the story, and the local experts who can discuss the topic.

    Oh yeah…when covering the weather, as in giving the forecast, chatting on the desk, etc…do NOT bring up AGW or climate change. That’s ridiculous. It’s off-topic too. People want to exhale during those segments, and just hear about the weather…As it is, you’re usually sandwiched inbetween a 2-year old baby being buried alive and the bust of a local prostitution ring.

  29. Mickey says:

    #25 – I think it would better as a news story than a weather report. As many have stated weather and climate are quite different and so if you start using local weather events that point towards global warming, one can easily point to examples that go against it. After all, this and last winter were mild ones globally yet much of the US and Europe experienced a colder than normal winter. Instead a news story on a whole series of events pointing towards climate change rather than just one as well as reporting on scientific research too would make more sense. Most health studies or research in medicine frequently makes the news so I don’t see why they couldn’t do the same on climate change studies. On health reports, they rarely use one smoker or one obese person to talk about the dangers, rather they show the overall stats to make the point and I think you could do the same for climate change. After all there are some smokers and some obese people who do live long lives, but on average if you smoke or are obese you will die younger. Much like with climate change, there will be events that go against what should happen, but more will confirm it than go against it so using stats makes the best sense.

  30. dp says:

    personally i think local media should be tapped to:

    (1) organize taking inventory on local buildings & infrastructure, and track it
    (2) help raise local standards for design, expertise, materials, waste, planning and logistics
    (3) help people secure grants, subsidies and special financing
    (4) instigate & track local/regional negawatts, to trade with corporate & political leadership in exchange for shutting down specific dirty supply sources
    (5) show what ‘best practice’ means: put local activities in national, global, and net-zero context; then show how better goals can be reached affordably
    (6) identify upstream and cross-stream blockages and organize people to remove them
    (7) organize workdays
    (8) clear the cobwebs of green myths and outdated info
    (9) challenge local civil society to meet 2030 standards

    and so on

  31. ToddInNorway says:

    People care about food prices and insurance premiums. We need to connect the dots for them, that climate change is already causing huge price increases due to unprecedented concurrence of crop failures on all continents, and the situation will likely worsen dramatically. The current uprisings in the Middle East and N. Africa are in part due to the recent food price increases which poor people simply cannot afford and must instead eat less. For those who live in flood-prone or hurricane-prone areas, they will first have to pay double or triple their current insurance premiums, or most likely they will not be able to get any insurance unless the state program steps in, like it was forced to in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana which have already experienced this.

  32. Petros says:

    As an online editor, can I add these views:

    If you see articles on climate change-related issues, with comments open, add your words in support. You can be certain that denialists will have picked up the story in their RSS feeds, and will have started to comment. It’s remarkable – and suspicious- how quick they are to respond – making up well in excess of the expected 10-20% share of the wider community.

    Talk-back radio tends to be right-wing, and will either ignore climate change news, or attack/dismiss it. Most radio broadcasters, though, will open some of their show to a ‘people’s hour’ or similar. That’s time supposedly for all-comers to contribute. Use that time to put the issue of CC in front of the listeners. Even better if you have made notes of previous comments made by the shockjock, and explain what’s being misunderstood/deliberatly mangled. (Start of with “As a regular listener to your show…”)

    If you spot a related article of interest in your newspaper, write up a quite, concise (and best of all witty) response. The likelihood is the the editorial page will be lightly staffed, and they will be keen to bed it down early with letters of the day. Even if the newspaper has an anti-CC/GW bent, they will find it hard to reject every letter they receive. One out of four letters getting through the filter is better than none.

    Make a point, too, of contacting your local politician, or his/her office. They may speak to 100 people a day, and if 5-10 of them raise the issue of global warming, they can’t turn around and honestly say: “It’s not an issue my constituents care about.”

  33. Prokaryotes says:

    Petros “t’s remarkable – and suspicious- how quick they are to respond”

    That’s the orchestrated campaign, funded by Koch Brothers and people like Rex Tillerson and alike. These comments have one thing in common, they use ad hominem attacks and always are ignorant of the science presented.

  34. Scrooge says:

    Once in awhile I will comment on local media sites. I get the impression that when I leave this site and go to a local site the average intelligence level goes up at both places.

  35. Nancy says:

    I have written to the Boston Globe editor many times asking for more in-depth coverage of the climate crisis. His response has always been that they don’t have the staff to write more, and claims that a 2007 series on climate was enough information for their readers. My argument is that the paper has an enormous daily section on sports, a daily business section, a daily comics section, and daily ‘living’ & entertainment stories. But no science section! Just two weeks ago a Globe editor told me that they are planning a series on global warming this year. I just hope they don’t try to ‘balance’ it by interviewing Lindzten.

    On a more local level, our global warming awareness group has run a regular column in the paper for the past 5 years. I don’t know how many people read it.

    Has anyone done a community cable show on global warming? I live in the Boston area and there are lots of MIT and Harvard experts who might be willing to be interviewed. Our local cable TV station is always looking for new ideas. Has anyone tried this?

  36. Wit's End says:

    okay Roger, it’s in my calendar to call Obama Tuesday morning, at 202-456-1111 and demand he give a speech on the teevee about climate change.

  37. Anna Haynes says:

    From the afternoon (so far) that I’ve spent watching the news being pulled together at the local radio station, & from listening to said staion, my recommendations are:

    1. A Eurekalert.org-type “story o’the day” site, with press releases & contact info for someone willing to be interviewed.

    2. Whoever *does* get interviewed, needs to make sure to spend a couple sentences conveying the big picture, since some radio guys will otherwise avo^H^H^Hforget to ask about this.

  38. Anna Haynes says:

    Nancy #34, re
    > Boston Globe editor…his response has always been that they don’t have the staff to write more, and claims that a 2007 series on climate was enough information

    It’s clearly not enough info, if the paper’s readers haven’t grasped it. Or not the right info.

    A reader’s circle, folks. One for each newspaper or other media outlet. Find out, and document, which organs of the press are like Fox – “the more you’re exposed, the less you know”.

  39. Anna Haynes says:

    re Petros#31’s “It’s remarkable – and suspicious- how quick they are to respond…”

    um, Petros, please read this. (link)

  40. Anna Haynes says:

    another thing, if you become local media – you can’t/shouldn’t try to *be* the expert on climate change, but what you can do, is bring the real experts on – including the experts on experts. (Though not the self-proclaimed experts on experts)

  41. paulm says:

    Powerful stuff…

    Moroccans explaining their reasons for taking to the streets on February 20
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/16/morocco-protest-video-dem_n_824241.html

  42. Some European says:

    @26, Roger
    I called.
    The girl didn’t seem to understand me very well, so I repeated the message.
    Let’s hope it helps.