The Biggest Emergency

Read the full story from Columbia Journalism Review.

Journalists were missing a critical moment for the people of Standing Rock—one arguably as important as the 2016 resistance. In this way, the established press continued its pattern of climate coverage, wherein solid enterprise reporting about environmental affairs takes a back seat to breaking-news assignments about extreme weather events. Standing Rock had been no different. Journalists only traveled to the reservation after police doused demonstrators with water on a subfreezing night, an event so shocking that it made the anti-pipeline resistance impossible to ignore.

The oversight also illustrated the media’s myopic gaze, its stubborn failure to see the importance of Indigenous stories. Within the conversation about climate change, too little attention is paid to the people who possess wisdom about sustaining the land. The catastrophic bushfires in Australia, predicted by Aborigines years ago, provide one recent example. 

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