Worldwatch's Mr. Block quotes outgoing SEJ President and Baltimore Sun reporter Timothy Wheeler, who says that news stories often reflect public opinion polls. For most US voters, climate change is not a top policy concern. "When the economy is the way it is, a war is going on, these are the things that grab the headlines and network news," Wheeler is quoted as saying.
But leaving it at that would ignore the press's role in shaping public opinion. The news isn't a one-way street: Most people's policy concerns are greatly informed by what they watch, hear, and read in the mass media. A newspaper that plays down climate change will end up with a readership that plays it down, too.
Mr. Pachauri's criticism – that coverage of climate change needs to be made more relevant to readers – has been making the rounds in media circles lately.