Breath of Clarity

Environmental Policy Analysis Discussion #1: B

I was surprised by the range of media sources cited by people during the zoom call. I agree with using Twitter and Facebook to introduce myself to issues on the agenda while using other sources to gather legitimate facts comprising the true story. I would prefer to use peer-reviewed articles to check facts. However, sometimes it is difficult to find current, peer-reviewed articles about recent news. Still, going on jStor to research the background of a topic on the agenda is useful. I resonated with the aspect of our discussion focusing on how only some sources have separate sections for news and opinion. Distinguishing sections within a single article would bring massive progress to taking undercover bias out of the media. I would deem the sources providing two separate sections as the most reliable. Doing so would make it be easier to compare the news sections from multiple sources about the same story. Sources could then compete at the topic selection and types of truth (interviews, government reports, scientific studies from colleges and universities, etc.) they are displaying rather than how to spin the same situations. More individuals would be inclined to be informed because they could save time reading only the news sections instead of having to sift through articles to gather the objective sequence of events.

While I previously did not consider it as a form of social media, podcasts are a great way to expose myself to emerging issues that are more so under the radar and may not yet have a flood of strong opinions generated about them. I would be more interested in using my Facebook newsfeed if it brought me a variety of topics as opposed to a self-selected feed of opinions. I appreciate pages such as National Geographic and National Renewable Energy Laboratory because the organizations are focused on new discoveries instead of drawing conclusions. I want to be selecting pages to follow based on my genre of interests rather than opinion. I found it particularly interesting when a student from the zoom call said NPR is left-wing but also interviews people of various parties. NPR can serve as a model by example to news sources who need to take the first step of diversifying perspective without having to completely let go of party-affiliation. Hopefully, the way quality media is characterized can transition to being based upon its ability to communicate a full story. I am curious about how the strengthening of science as a key factor in political decision-making would impact the transition.

Comment by Joshua Martin:


You bring up a great point about preferring peer-reviewed articles to fact check, that did not come up in the zoom call and it seems like a very good idea that we should all practice. With the biases and opinions that many news sources have, it is important to use a researched based article for information as well. I had not considered using podcasts outside of entertainment (usually true crime) so I am excited to jump into some environmentally oriented podcasts.

Comment by Casey Kahler:

Hi Mary,

I’m glad that you brought up podcasts in the discussions! I was honestly shocked during our zoom call how popular podcasts have become. I personally feel like I always struggle listening to podcasts because I get distracted when I’m not actually reading or watching someone doing the talking. However, after hearing the general consensus on them during the zoom call I may have to work on my active listening skills and give them another shot! I also think it’s great how you mentioned how you want to select pages based on your interests and not based on opinions. I feel as if this is a big issue we’re facing with social media pages but as you said it’s always important to cross reference and dig a little deeper into articles.

My Response:

Hi Joshua and Casey,

Insofar as the information on podcasts is accurate, I see it as a phenomenal gateway to strengthen the environmental movement because it does not necessarily need to be based on singular events. I am curious regarding the reputability of environmental podcasts. Podcasts would be a great way to spread information about ongoing problems in climate that may not be abrupt enough to get onto media headlines. Professor Morgan made a great point in the zoom call that The Great American Outdoors Act did not get passed out of thin air. It takes years of persistence despite setbacks for a collection of individuals to create and advocate for policy change. Considering the story-based format of podcasts, the medium may be a useful way to convey the progression of key milestones. Due to the diversity in podcasts, perhaps a people may be able to find a podcast in the environmental sector they are interested in versus being captivated by a singular environmental event featured in the traditional media channels. I am also interested in how podcasts advertise to get listeners. I can see podcast personalities emerging which would help generate a following. While it is definitely difficult to not get distracted with only auditory learning, I can imagine it would be useful for people to listen to podcasts during a commute or even while working from home on the computer. Also, a lot of people have already determined they will not read for leisure but are open to podcasts. Hopefully, the diversity of topics in podcasts and the convenience factor can help make environmental issues personal to people.

Original Post by Alicia Almberg:

I was really interested in many of the Podcasts that were listed. I love to listen to podcasts. I think what was really interesting is that most of us rely on social media for new sources. We know what is fact and not fact through further research. One social media site I never would have thought of as a news source was Linkedin. I think that most click bait articles are opinion pieces. Those pieces get me thinking either for or against and makes me want to dive further into the subject.

My Comment:

Hi Alicia,

I have some experience with the benefits of using LinkedIn as a news source. Currently, I only have LinkedIn and Facebook. As other students talked about, I prefer to learn about issues through social media outlets and then fact check elsewhere. LinkedIn minimizes a lot of the negative aspects of social media we discussed. Generally, people are concerned about their postings having accurate information because it is a professional profile and may be investigated by a potential employer. LinkedIn is more preferable compared to Facebook because the commentary tends to be professional and people are not used to it being as much of a heavily-polarized thread. While businesses definitely share updates to portray their organizations in a good light, I am able to hear about a lot of global climate change action conducted by entities with a substantial amount of capital. It also keeps me informed as a consumer so I can have a clear understanding of how my favorite companies stand in regard to environmental issues. For example, Ben & Jerry’s is a famous environmental advocate. Government organizations also post environmental milestones which are fun to celebrate. Also, one way LinkedIn is more so action-oriented in the environmental movement is it is a hub for job postings. So, the essential nature of LinkedIn involves communicating how a person can get involved which builds the citizen collective’s power.