May 18, 2020

COVID-19’s Impact on Sustainability: 3 Trends in Media Coverage

by Ellen Mallernee Barnes in News

Had this past April been an ordinary April, the news media would have likely done its usual flurry of Earth Month—and Earth Day—coverage. Sustainability experts would have worked to achieve news coverage that explored progress to date and helped set the agenda for the future.

This year, however, April had a different distinction. In the U.S., it was the first full month in history that we lived with social distancing practices and stay-at-home orders in place.

COVID-19, not climate change, dominated the media.

This media coverage was met by a rapt audience: At the end of March, 92 percent of Americans said they were following coronavirus coverage very or fairly closely.

To satisfy Americans’ appetite for trusted resources, real-time updates and a roadmap through uncharted territory, journalists and news outlets adapted their content to cover coronavirus-related stories almost exclusively. Thousands of angles, hundreds of spokespeople, tens of theories, one topic.

With this in mind, we conducted an analysis comparing sustainability coverage pre-COVID-19 and today. Additionally, we spoke with sustainability and CSR journalists for guidance on how industry advocates can continue to seek and obtain coverage in this vastly changed news environment.

From this, we identified three trends, which we’ve explored in Red Havas’ latest white paper. Download it here now.