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Seed Grant Projects | Funded Teams
Resilience media: Reporting on coastal cities and climate change


In this project, we examine the dynamics of news media ecosystems on coastal cities as they relate to climate change and resilience. We analyze how news organizations are reporting on the threats posed by climate change to coastal cities, assessing national outlets like the New York Times, National Public Radio, the Guardian, and Washington Post; major urban outlets such as the Houston Chronicle, Vancouver Sun, Miami Herald, and Boston Globe; and specialized outlets such as ProPublica, the Texas Tribune, and Climate Central. We demonstrate why high quality public affairs journalism is essential to collective decisions about coastal resilience, identifying best practices and weaknesses in coverage. To do so, we synthesize available scholarship, assess patterns in coverage, and conduct interviews with journalists and experts. In partnership with the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI), we develop models for more data-driven, forward-thinking news coverage, and we explore uses of open data in public communication. We also interview philanthropists who are investing in new models of non-profit journalism such as ClimateCentral. Our research will result in a report released jointly by the Global Resilience Institute and Harvard’s Shorenstein Center; a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Communication; and other studies and commentaries. We will define an agenda for externally funded research and position GRI to become a national leader at the intersection of media, communications and resilience, laying the groundwork for a potential Resilience Media Lab.

Team Members

Matt Nisbet

College of Arts, Media and Design

John Wihbey

College of Arts, Media and Design
Daniel T. O’Brien

Daniel T. O’Brien

College of Social Sciences and Humanities

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