Although Indigenous communities are among the hardest hit by the effects of climate change, national news coverage of how these communities are using technology and engineering to tackle the problem is usually done from non-Indigenous perspective. In a unique collaboration between PBS NewsHour and Indij Public Media (the parent company of ICT, formerly known as Indian Country Today), this project will put the perspectives and the reporting of Indigenous communities front and center through their co-creation of digital and broadcast segments. This work will appear on the NewsHour's nightly broadcast and in the websites and social media spaces of both ICT and the NewsHour. This project also will create the first Indigenous climate reporting desk in the US within an Indigenous-led newsroom. It will allow Indigenous journalists to challenge existing narratives about climate change and its impact on Indigenous communities, replacing a narrative of loss with one that is rooted in lived experience and much richer and reflective of multiple perspectives. The collaborative research led by Knology will examine what different publics (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) know about (1) climate problems (the differential effects on different places and peoples), (2) climate problem-solvers (the different peoples who offer their expertise on solving climate problems), and (3) climate solutions (different interventions for preventing, mitigating, or reversing those effects).
One of the project's key goals is to interrupt negative social stereotypes which can hinder progress on important issues such as climate change. By uncovering the culturally dominant as well as Indigenous understandings of climate science, climate reporting can be crafted to open publics' eyes to a greater range of engineering and technology solutions. The team will apply the social scientific framework of "moral motives" (Janoff-Bulman & Carnes, 2018), which refers to the basic human need to protect and nurture others. The team will use this framework to systematically study and experiment with different ways of framing climate journalism through three phases: Phase 1 focuses on analyzing existing news reports to reveal how climate engineering is covered by contemporary journalism. Phase 2 will reveal the stereotyped knowledge shared within both Indigenous and non-Indigenous publics on three topics: climate problems, problem-solvers, and the solutions that flow from these framings. Phase 3 will deploy experimental interventions to test the effectiveness of different reporting strategies for helping public audiences see beyond their stereotypes, and to expand their STEM vocabularies and understandings of paths to climate empowerment. The research process is fully participatory, with journalists involved in research design and implementation at all stages, and cross-pollination among all teams through a regular series of focused meetings.
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