1. What’s wrong with climate change reporting?
You’ve probably already read a lot of great journalism on climate science. But all too often the hard work of journalists who report the facts is undermined by self-proclaimed experts who make claims that have no basis in science. Climate Feedback has already identified articles online right now, and which have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, that misrepresent the science the articles claim to report. This sows doubt and confusion. We want to make sure that all science journalism reflects science, rather than the ideology of the editors.
2. Are you promoting certain political agendas with these reviews?
No. Scientists are asked to assess the accuracy of factual statements related to climate change with respect to the body of scientific knowledge and the logic of the reasoning. If a statement is unsupported by science, we will mention it, regardless of the political ideology of its author or source.
3. Isn’t the point of journalism to fact-check everyone else, not the other way around?
Many scientific topics are extremely complex and require decades of dedicated full-time work to master. It is hard to fully grasp a complex field such as climate change and recognize what is actually based on sound science—especially when there are special interests, politicians, corporations and public relations teams working hard to push unscientific information in order to advance a biased agenda.
4. I’m a journalist. Why would I want scientists evaluating my story?
Climate Feedback requires scientists to stick to what they know when they annotate an article. Having scientists checking a journalist’s story in their field of expertise can be valuable in several ways:
- You will get valuable feedback on whether people actually working on this topic everyday endorse the message you’re sending.
- You get references to reliable sources of information and connections to scientists who can serve as new sources in the future.
- You get a credibility boost if scientists validate the information, because they are trusted by the public.
Having scientists take a look at your work can also lead to better understanding and relationships between scientists and journalists in the future, which is what we at Climate Feedback are trying to foster.
5. I’m a reader interested in climate change. How will this help me?
You probably know all too well how difficult it is to find reliable online information these days, especially when it comes to climate change and other politically controversial topics. With Climate Feedback, you get to know which sources of climate news you can trust, and which ones you should be especially skeptical about. You can even share this with your friends and colleagues who might be confused by inaccurate statements they have read on otherwise respectable outlets. And, if you follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or sign up for our newsletter, you’ll be the first to receive updates about the latest articles we evaluate.
6. With that many articles every day on climate, how are you going to evaluate them all?
We won’t. But we want to be in a position to evaluate any influential article on climate change. And by looking at a collection of our reviews from a given source, you’ll already know which media outlets are likely to publish information you can trust.
7. How did Climate Feedback start?
As scientists, we came up with Climate Feedback after seeing that our friends and colleagues were genuinely confused by contradictory stories on climate change. We found many scientists who shared our frustration after reading articles that were inconsistent with current scientific knowledge. We decided to take it into our own hands to help readers find the most trustworthy information.