“The truth is not in the middle”: Journalistic norms of climate change bloggers

Christel W. van Eck*, Bob C. Mulder, Art Dewulf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change has often been presented in a biased way in traditional media outlets, due to journalists’ adherence to the norm of balanced reporting. More generally, journalistic norms shape the selection and composition of news and thereby influence how climate change is covered in traditional media. Climate change coverage is also prominent in new media outlets, such as blogs. The current research aims to identify which journalistic norms are supported in the climate blogosphere, on the basis of 27 interviews with climate change bloggers. The results show that climate change bloggers support the traditional journalistic norms of personalization, dramatization, novelty, authority and order, but not balance. Beyond the traditional journalistic norms, climate change bloggers identify contextualization, clarity, decency, and particularly truth as important journalistic norms. Truth is understood as a multi-dimensional norm comprising objectivity, transparency, and honesty. No differences are identified between norms supported by climate sceptical and climate mainstream bloggers, but each group operationalizes the norms differently. These results challenge and redefine traditional models of journalistic norms, and contribute to theorizing how journalistic norms shape climate change coverage in new media outlets. As such, this research on climate change bloggers and their journalistic norms is crucial for a fuller understanding of current climate change communications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101989
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Bloggers
  • Climate change
  • Climate change communications
  • Journalistic norms
  • Online media

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