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Uncertain Climate: Risk in the Media

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Madeleine Geddes-Barton.

lively discussion!

Roger Harrabin is the BBC ’s Environment Analyst, and one of the world’s senior journalists on the environment and energy. He has travelled widely reporting on environment and energy and interviewed many leading figures including Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair,[1] Al Gore, John Kerry, Ban Ki-Moon, James Lovelock, Sonia Gandhi, Gordon Brown and Bjorn Lomborg. He is a Visiting Fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford and an Associate Press Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge.

Harrabin’s reporting is dominated by risk issues, and he has, in the past been, critical of the Media’s approach to reporting risk. He states that often major risk issues fail to fit news criteria of novelty, drama, conflict, personality and pictures. This leads the media to have given the wrong level of prominence to a range of risks including MMR , dirty bombs, child abduction, nuclear power and genetic modification. He argues that the media should find new ways of exploring long-term risk issues like preventive health and security of water, food, energy and climate.

Harrabin has also worked in a risk advisory role at the BBC . He co-wrote the BBC ’s guidance on reporting on Risk which calls for news instincts to be tempered by statistical perspective. Whilst on sabbatical at Wolfson College, Cambridge Harrabin set up the Cambridge Media and Environment Programme (CMEP) with Dr Joe Smith, now of the Open University. They worked in partnership with other BBC staff organising seminars with a broad range of views to stimulate discussion of the BBC ’s coverage of global Risk issues covering the environment, economics, and society.

In Cambridge on the 9th Roger Harrabin will give a frank, half-hour talk on the challenges of reporting climate change, which will be followed by a 45 minute question and answer session.

All are welcome to attend, but do contact me if you would like to reserve a seat. Directions to the Coleridge Room will be sign posted from Jesus college porters lodge.

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