One of the surveys conducted by Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication and the Center for Social Science Research made big news this year. The survey of weathercasters about climate change showed up in a variety of news stories as the networks covered the subject from different angles.
It made the front page of the New York Times for starters. The Weather Channel interviewed Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication, live from his office on the Fairfax Campus to discuss the results. Even “pundit” Steven Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, took an interest and had a segment on his show pitting weathercasters against climatologists.
“Our surveys of the public have shown that many Americans are looking to their local TV weathercaster for information about global warming,” says Maibach, who conducts a number of surveys on climate change each year. “The findings of this latest survey show that TV weathercasters play—or can play—an important role as informal climate change educators.”
According to the survey, climate change is already one of the most common science topics TV weathercasters discuss; most commonly at speaking events but also at the beginning or end of their on-air segments; on blogs, websites, and the radio; and in newspaper columns.