A thematic review and synthesis of best practices in environment journalism

  • Emily Bourassa Concordia University
Keywords: environment journalism, best practices, journalism practice, guidelines, reporting methods,


The environment beat is a relatively new journalistic field, having emerged in the 1960s, when growing awareness of social and environmental issues spurred the start of the environment movement. Today, journalists covering the environment find challenges in adapting traditional reporting methods to the beat, while dealing with space and deadline pressures as well as other demands. This mismatch of methods has led to numerous critiques of environment journalism but less robust discussion of best practices. To address this gap, we undertook an in-depth review and synthesis of 58 pieces of literature on journalism practices in environment reporting, which resulted in the development of eight distinct themes: “abilities,” “variability,” “range of information,” “sources,” “balance and objectivity,” “newsworthiness,” “storytelling methods” and “alternatives.” Our thematic review reveals a stark hole in the theory-practice connections of the 58 studies analyzed: we have many problems, a few theoretical alternatives but largely no detailed, practical solutions.

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