Terminology Shifting on Mass Media: From Climate Change to Climate Crisis

Bogor, May 29th, 2019

Eyes were fixed on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Antonio set foot steadily towards the podium to give key note speech at the UN headquarters in New York ahead of the Climate Change Summit, weeks ago. With a serious expression, Antonio expressed its concern regarding climate change problem. He said these issues would not be solved unless all countries move to change before 2020. He stressed the importance of moral responsibility from countries to fully support the realization of the Paris agreement. To further emphasize the importance of this problem and the moral responsibility of countries especially the responsibility of developed countries, Antonio changes his wording of climate changes to climate crisis. "The world's richest nations are the most responsible for the climate crisis, yet the effects are being felt first and worst by the poorest nations and the most vulnerable peoples and communities," Said Antonio , Monday, September 10, 2018, at the UN headquarters in New York.

The change in the use of diction was responded by The Guardian. Following in Antono's footsteps, in early May, The Guardian announced changes of his language style related to climate change reporting for the news they published. This was done to emphasize the importance of climate issues to all parties. "The phrase 'climate change', for example, sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity," said Chief Editor Katharine Viner, as quoted in the Guardian, Friday, May 17 2019.

He further said that changes in the use of diction were also carried out not only by the Guardian, but also by organizations and scientists, from the United Nations to the Met Office (past: UK meteorological agency). These parties deliberately change diction used to be stronger to be able to address the urgency of the climate change problem.

One of the individuals who protested to change the diction selection about the climate change was Greta Thunberg. The 16-year-old girl from Sweden who initiated the movement of school students demands the policy makers issue policies that are environmentally friendly and move realistically to solve the problem of climate change. "It's 2019. Can we all now please stop saying "climate change" and instead call it what it is: climate breakdown, climate crisis, climate emergency, ecological breakdown, ecological crisis and ecological emergency?" Said Greta on her Twitter account @GretaThunberg , 4 May 2019.

Regarding this, the Nieman Journalism Laboratory, one of the journalistic institutions founded by Nieman Foundation Harvard University, said that current media coverage of the issue of climate change was not adequate. Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope in his article entitled "Newsroom managers have failed to see the climate crisis as fundamental, all-encompassing, and worthy of attention from every journalist on their payrolls," as they said on The media are complacent while the world burns.

According to Nieman Journalism Lab, The Guardian is indeed one of the media that is very concerned about the issue of climate change. Nieman further cited the selection of dictionaries in the members. Announce changes that might seem trivial, but changes the terminology used is truly important. With the selection of the right diction, it is hoped those will reinforced the readers and the newsroom.

The following are some of the changes made by The Guardian as follows,


Source: as linked in the article