This briefing covers online English language legacy media coverage between 15th and 28th March, which looks at the intersection of ocean, climate and biodiversity coverage.
This briefing does not include Seaspiracy coverage. As the reach of the documentary increases, the conversation has broadened and continues to evolve. In response to this we want to continue with our analysis across the weekend and into next week, and then will issues a specific Seaspiracy edition of the briefing.
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Summary of findings
This briefing is a bumper edition for the ocean. While we often see ocean trailing behind climate in terms of volume of coverage, the data collected over this two-week period saw a high level of ocean-related stories.
Much of the ocean coverage was driven by a report in Nature entitled ‘Protecting the global ocean for biodiversity, food and climate’. The study performed particularly well, receiving high traction across a range of international and national media. There were two very different angles of coverage for the report; the first focused on the report as ‘a blueprint for ocean conservation’, while the second focused on calculations that bottom trawling could be responsible for higher carbon emissions than air travel. From a communications perspective, the report is a successful case study of ocean research media coverage.
The reasons for the high coverage of the study are multiple: the report successfully linked into the climate and biodiversity discussion, following on the heels of the Dasgupta report; in addition to Earth system function, human activity and impact was clearly incorporated (note ‘food’ in the title); the report emphasised the global team of scientists (international scientific cooperation seen as valuable in the pandemic context); the report contributes to ongoing policy discussions on 30×30; the mapping element gave scope for national reporting angles; it offered a solution/positive action as a ‘blueprint for ocean conservation’; and offered a ‘problem’ headline with a relatable analogy (comparison to air travel emissions).
Climate crisis coverage for this briefing saw a high number of articles focusing on geo-political relations, with both the UK and the US vowing to put climate at the forefront of foreign policy. Additionally, there was strong climate coverage in the financial sphere, with an emphasis on the inclusion of climate in catastrophe risk modelling.