Czech Media Overlook Environment

The environment is all around us, which is why we should care about it. It is the task for the media to inform and educate people about the environmental issues. Dr Mark Neuzil, professor of the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota, and a 2017 Fulbright Scholar at Prague’s Charles University, says, “In the Czech media, environmental coverage comes only as a part of the regular coverage of the day – if it comes at all.”

In the United States, there are journalists who specialize in the environmental topics. They also have their own professional association, called the Society of Environmental Journalists. One of its 1,500 members is Mark Neuzil, who taught Media Ethics and Media History at Charles University’s Faculty of Social Science during the past winter term.

“I don’t see much specialization in the Czech media,” Neuzil said about the lack of Czech environmental coverage. “They are less mature and less organized. Journalists miss the training in ecology, biology or chemistry.”

Another problem is that media – especially TV – are focusing too much on the visual images.

“It is really hard to cover long-term problems like DNA issues, endocrine disruptor and so on. There are no pictures to go along with it. That is why we see a lot of coverage of the phenomena like storms, floods, fires – dramatic events that are heavy on images, kind of ready-made for television,” Neuzil said.

But it does not have to be this way. Neuzil suggests that there could be an interesting story, for example, about fish farming in the Czech Republic because it is different than everywhere else.

“Traditionally, the Czechs have carp for the Christmas dinner, but they do not think about where the carp came from and where it was grown. Eating carp for Christmas seems normal to them, they are used to it,” Neuzil explained.

People grow fish to eat all over the world, but this does not usually happen in the same pond for the last 500 years. The length of time and traditional manner of growing carp and fishing them out is, according to Neuzil, unique and could be a great scoop for environmental journalists.


Text vznikl v rámci kurzu Angličtina pro žurnalisty pod vedením Mgr. Aleny Proškové.


Foto: Mark Neuzil’s Facebook

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