Master Thesis Media & Journalism

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Melanie: And pollution… I don’t know, I don’t really see anything positive about it, except for maybe companies getting more profit.

Bianca: Yeah, you could see it in that aspect

Melanie: So then, from the company’s perspective it’s positive, but from a social point of view it’s just really selfish and really bad.
Problem of Climate Change
So it’s just a problem.
Naomi: Just a problem.
We all watch the news and read the papers, which often do dramatic reports on another natural disaster. And we’ve all heard scientists, politicians, teachers and fellow students speaking of a climate crisis. Some say the term climate crisis is highly exaggerated. Some say it’s hardly exaggerated enough. What would be your opinion on this? Do you think climate change is being problematized?
Melanie: I think it really is a problem, because if you look at the golf stream and with the rising water level and the amount of salt in the water, because of the melting North Pole and Antarctica, the water won’t be cold enough to sink into the water and just the whole gulf stream is gonna stop flowing. Like I already said, a whole bunch of animal species is just gonna disappear, because they are used to mating and traveling in the sea, not only seals, but also animals on the land. Plus, I think that even in the Netherlands we get the hot gulf stream and if that’s not gonna get around our coast it will become an ice age. So I think it is problematic actually. If we keep up this level, it could happen within twenty years. When we’re alive actually. Seriously. I think it could.

Bianca: I think the problem is also, to a certain extent, criticized of being overrated. Like, the media, they are saying they are taking the problem to a whole different level, that it’s not that serious. That’s what’s happening right now. But since it has come to a consensus between scientists, I don’t think it’s being over problematized. I think it should be made aware as it is now. Because it is a problem that is occurring fast and becoming more of a problem. So I don’t think it’s overrated.

Naomi: To be honest, I actually think they should try even harder to make people more aware of it. Because, people are aware, but they don’t act like it.

Bianca: But the problem then is, who is responsible for making people aware. You know, I mean companies would do that, unless the government takes initiatives to finally establish awareness, through projects or whatever. Only then companies will listen…

Melanie: We need stricter rules.
Media on Climate Change/Solution of Climate Change
What do you think could or should be the role of the media in this?
Bianca: I think the play a major role. That’s how people find it out, through the media.

Melanie: I think the media could be huge, look at the smoking campaigns. I don’t know what the actual results were, but I think that people, since they’ve become aware that smoking kills, I think they’re more careful.

Naomi: I don’t agree. No, it doesn’t work. It makes them aware, but they already know smoking kills, before they start smoking. I do think people smoke less, because it’s a process

Melanie: So maybe the media makes you aware, but then the government has to intervene, with initiatives to make CO2 emissions more expensive, because you have to make taxes.

Bianca: That’s what they do right. I mean, they subsidize car manufactures to make more climate responsible cars.

Melanie: So maybe that’s it. The media has an influence, in that it makes you aware, but it doesn’t move you to change anything. They don’t push you enough.

Bianca: So other than media, what do you think would be the most effective tool to handle this problem?


Bianca: That’s what I’m saying. I mean, media does play a really major role in making us aware.

Melanie: Taxes…

Bianca: Yeah, but the people first have to know what’s going on. I think that the media, through articles, through news, through whatever, are the first step to get people educated on what is the actual problem on hand and what can we do to deal with it. And then, the government can say, OK, we subsidize this project or this becomes cheaper, because it helps the environment. But I think the media are the first and main actor in solving this problem.

Melanie: Maybe the media is a tool to help, but I don’t think it is the answer though. Because, no offense, we’re all educated. But we are only a small part. We know what’s going on in the world. But the major part of the Netherlands is just undereducated. I don’t think that they understand.

And even if the media tells them, I don’t think it will have a big influence, because maybe they think it’s just propaganda. You know, like a major part of everything, like wars and stuff, they just don’t believe it. That it’s just an overreaction.

Well, that’s what’s happening right now. For instance, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth shows humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. Although generally the documentary has been well received, there has been quite a lot of criticism as well. Politicians on television, journalists in the papers, skeptical scientists through documentaries, such as The Great Global Warming Swindle… They all responded on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and thus the debate on climate change was born. So maybe the media can help to solve the problem of climate change, but perhaps it contributes to the confusion as well.
Melanie: Maybe. It should simply be more radical. Because, I don’t think they’re doing enough. We know a little bit of what’s going on, we don’t know everything. And we are the ones going to college, which is only such a small percentage of the whole population of the Netherlands. So if you just look at the Netherlands, there’s such a huge part of the people who are unaware and ignorant of what’s going on. They don’t want to know. Or they just don’t understand what’s going on. So either the media should be more aggressive about it. Or there should be other means. I don’t know what these would be though.

Bianca: I think it depends on how the person perceives the message being sent. Say, if you would see a news coverage, like really serious on CNN, OK, this is what’s happening etcetera, telling the story of this problem, I think it’s coming from a really reliable source. It sounds serious enough, so people would take it serious. So in that kind of sense, the media would have an impact. But I can understand your point. People who would read an article, see a message somewhere, and think, what the hell, you know…

Melanie: But who watches CNN?

Naomi: Mainly educated people.

Melanie: And that’s such a small part. So you reach us, but how do you reach the other part.

Bianca: Maybe making it a more aware problem in say, school subjects. Like, in English, concentrate on articles on climate change. I don’t know, it could be involved in school. They would have to think about it, how they could target these groups of people, who are not being reached otherwise.

Melanie: So in a harsh way, it’s actually all about how to reach the uneducated. Because, they are… well… very hard to reach. And also very ignorant and pessimistic about it. They think it’s just a sort of propaganda.

Bianca: Do you think it’s the uneducated people that are pessimistic? I think it’s the educated people. They think twice about what they see on the news.

Melanie: Well, they might think twice, but they still take the car as well. I know my dad does.

Bianca: But I mean, they think twice about what’s being said. That there is a climate crisis in the first place.

Melanie: Oh, you mean, like they question it, criticize it, not take it for granted. I think so, because if you have a little bit of knowledge about something, you don’t take it for granted, you think about, you don’t just assume things that are being said. But if you don’t know anything about a subject, like I don’t know anything about politics, and then something is being said about that, then I’m like, oh well, maybe that’s true. Really, I think it is. But then my dad says, no, it’s not true at all, because he said this from that party and so on. So only then I think about. But up to the point that I don’t have any knowledge about it, I take it for granted.

Bianca: Yep, so a lot of people might take climate change as a given. While maybe it’s not. All these different aspects which you can get into with so much detail. It’s really hard.

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