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The coverage of environmental issues by the Greek


media from the editors‟ perspective
Ioanna Kostarella Sofia Theodosiadou Georgios Tsantopoulos
Department of Public Relations and Department of Public Relations and Department of Forestry and
Communication Communication Management of the Environment and
TEI of West Macedonia TEI of Ionian Islands Natural Resources
Kastoria, Greece Argostoli, Greece Democritus University of Thrace
i.kostarela@kastoria.teikoz.gr stheodosiadou@gmail.com Orestiada, Greece
tsantopo@fmenr.duth.gr

Abstract— The present research, which is part of a wider about the coverage of environmental issues from 1960 to 1972,
research project regarding the views of Greek journalists on Parlour and Schatzow found that public interest in
environmental coverage, is an attempt to decode the ecosystem of environmental issues is directly related to the quantity of
the environmental news beat in order to understand how coverage generated by the media [11].
journalists perceive their mission. A structured questionnaire
was used to collect the data from the editors who cover There is no doubt, therefore, that the media play an
environmental issues for national Greek newspapers. The results important role in the construction of environmental issues and
of this research showed that the quantity of environmental especially in their recognition by the public as problems.
information in the Greek press is not considered satisfactory. Consequently, the coverage of these issues by prestige press is
Another important finding is the role that conflicting interests not just a collection of articles, but a social relation mediated
play when media organizations belong to business conglomerates by the media [20, 21]. The parameters of this relationship are
with activities in related to the environment areas. this electronic determined extensively by journalistic standards and values
document is a “live” template. that influence what is considered newsworthy and how news is
framed [22], while the role of advertising companies and other
Keywords-component; environmental communication, press, business interests is a catalytic one. What is more, journalists
science journalism, environment editors play an equally important role in how environmental issues are
I. INTRODUCTION perceived by the general public
The coverage of scientific issues has been a popular topic in A. Influences on the construction of environmental news
academic research [1-4] for many years and includes a branch Journalistic work and thus the content of news are
that deals with environmental issues [2][5-13]. These issues influenced by a number of ideological, cultural and
vary, ranging from those associated with the environment and organisational factors [23, 24]. Marxist tradition connects
its protection to the nuclear threat characterized recently by the ideology with the interests of the ruling class, which are
Fukushima case in Japan. They can be considered an reflected in journalistic content [25], while the dominant
advocate‟s beat, journalism with a purpose, or simply organisational theories and mostly the seminal studies of Gay
journalism about the environment. [14]. Although public Tuchman focus on factors such as the news selection criteria,
awareness on environmental issues began to manifest itself space and budget constraints that may affect among others the
more strongly during the '60s [15], it was only during the early job of a journalist [23, 26]. Regarding environmental coverage,
1980s that what can be described as “ecological awareness” journalists should take into account several different issues
gained visibility on the news agenda of countries such as connected with politics, law or business, as aptly pointed out
Britain and the United States [11]. However, in recent years, by Rademakers [14].
mainly due to the pressing environmental problems leading to
climate change, there is an increased interest on behalf of the An important parameter necessary for the understanding of
media. The wide publicity given to major environmental the newsroom culture is the process of agenda setting, „a
catastrophes has contributed to mobilising the public and process through which the media define the importance of
strengthening the environmental movement, making issues for which a person can form an opinion‟ [27]. In other
environmental protection a global demand. words, it is the media that decide what is important for the
public and prioritize the issues that are to be addressed. For the
Several studies so far have attempted to unravel the final news selection, authors use specific criteria such as:
relationship between the media and the public agenda with human interest, general importance, conflict, temporality, and
regard to environmental issues, on the basis that the media are geographical or cultural proximity [24]. These features rarely
an important source of information as they tend to affect apply to environmental phenomena, which are a major concern
people‟s perception of the environment [16-18]. This fact led to and persist for years without a solution [28]. Environmental
further investigation, which focuses on the effects of the daily issues dealing with environmental risks fall into the category of
agenda on the relationship between media coverage and public soft news. Given their long-term nature, the day and time they
opinion concerning environmental issues [19]. In their study are discussed is not important. Therefore, when there is no

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current news, environmental news is often treated by the media and Media Studies the education of students in this area could
as useful news to „fill‟ the gap in the absence of something be further improved. This issue is further reflected in the fact
more urgent, timely or valuable to the present [28]. that environmental editors often do not have the specific
knowledge to interpret data regarding pollution or other more
Besides news selection, the framing of environmental news complex information [39]. The complexity of environmental
plays an equally important role. As Gitlin notes, framing issues and particularly issues regarding climate change is a
process facilitates the work of both journalists and citizens who serious problem for journalists with limited or even no
learn what is going on through the news stories [29]. News is scientific background, as well as news organizations that rely
routinely reported in the form of specific events or particular on these individuals to cover climate change [40]. Complex
cases; Iyengar calls this „episodic‟ news framing, as distinct environmental news requires not only changing the emphasis
from „thematic‟ coverage that places issues and events in some from description to analysis but also ensuring the editor‟s
general context [30]. To frame is to select some aspects of a ability to interpret, explain and analyze data that are often
perceived reality and make them more salient in a contradictory or abstract [28]. It is also worth noting that a
communicating text, in such a way as to promote a particular major issue associated with the project of environmental
problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, journalism has to do with the fact that most media do not
and/or treatment recommendation for the item described [31]. employ accredited reporters on environmental issues [41]. The
For example, the global audience discovered the dangers of most crucial task for editors working on the environmental
nuclear energy after the accident at Chernobyl, Ukraine and „beat‟ is understanding the facts and making judgments,
recalls the risks associated with nuclear energy only after because they are the ones communicating these issues to the
similar events (Fukushima). In these cases, the negative effects general public [42]. Others believe that editors covering
of nuclear power are highlighted by the majority of media, environmental issues should behave more like
while at the same time its positive dimensions are fully environmentalists and less like journalists [43]. However, the
neglected. Central to the understanding of the framing process study by Chapman et al. highlights the finding that the majority
is the fact that editors may interpret issues based on frames
of journalists would positively not want to be treated as
conveyed to them by other news sources, while at the same ecologists and certainly not as environmental communicators
time they are equally susceptible to the very frames that they [44].
use to describe events and issues [32]. These „cognitive
packages‟ are mostly a function of how elites, interest groups When asked in a workshop to study articles that referred to
or other sources frame an issue. environmental issues, Greek local reporters acknowledged that
the journalistic approach was incomplete, since it did not
However, the deeper influence on the construction of include information about the nature of the problem, its causes,
environmental news comes from the limited use of sources, the its impact on the ecosystem or possible solutions [45].
pressure of time and space, along with the dependencies on According to Giannoulis et al., the reasons for the so called
large companies whose activities have adverse effects on the deficit in environmental coverage are much deeper and more
environment. As indicated by Lacy and Coulson, there is a complex than has been suggested by previous research [42],
deficit regarding sources selection because of the way while other studies identify lack of trust in scientific
newsrooms operate [33]. Additionally, according to Helvarg, institutions, news selection criteria and media routines as
companies whose activities pollute the environment spend a lot important factors that affect environmental coverage [40].
of money to promote an image of environmental responsibility
[34], while according to Dispensa and Brulle economies such C. Assessing environmental coverage in Greece
as those of „the U.S., which are closely linked to the fuel In the early 1990s, a notable increase in research regarding
industry, have every reason to downgrade the issue of global the influence of media on environmental issues was monitored
warming‟[35]. There are even companies, such as Procter and [18]. According to Ο‟ Donnell & Rice “over the years,
Gamble, which set specific terms for the media before being researchers have tried to evaluate the quality of the news. They
advertised [36]. Moreover, it is understood that ideological as have approached this in one of four different ways: 1) source
well as cultural and organisational factors affect the production perception, 2) intra-media perception, 3) user perception, and
of environmental news, while the role of editors and journalists 4) subject-specific criteria” [46]. The choice of the approach
remains dominant. depends on what each researcher is looking for. In our case,
B. The role of editors and journalists in the transmission of since we need to take an insider‟s look at the ecosystem of the
environmental information environmental news beat, the views of editors were considered
to be a valuable source of information.
According to Frome, environmental journalism is not just a
way of reporting [37]. It‟s more a way of life and perception of Previous findings show that environmental issues have very
the world and ourselves. It starts with the concept of social little visibility in relation to other issues covered by print media
responsibility, honesty and reliability. It almost always [46]. This finding significantly relates to Greek reality and is
involves risk and sacrifice. Pleasant et al. define environmental further strengthened by the fact that only 2.7% of Greek people
communication as „the link between communication practices consider the environment as a social problem [47]. According
and environmental relations‟ [38]. to Giannoulis et al., research regarding environmental coverage
in Greece is scarce and most researchers used content analysis
The role of editors in environmental cοverage is specific as their basic methodology [42] [48-52]. The majority of
and requires expertise, although as revealed by the curricula of studies focus on local press [51, 53].
Greek university departments of Communication, Journalism

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Following the intra-media approach, the most common different newspapers. After their useful recommendations the
among researchers admittedly, we chose to have journalists final questionnaire was formed with 10 questions that fall into
subjectively evaluate their own performance, in order to distil two basic sections: the first one refers to questions that have to
their thoughts and extract some conclusions regarding the do with the mode and the extent of coverage of environmental
process of environmental news construction in Greece. This issues from the Greek media whereas the second section refers
study asks editors to evaluate the quality of news and further to the reasons for the low visibility of environmental news and
explores this complex issue and deepens knowledge from the the channels for dissemination of environmental news, the
perspective of the environmental editors themselves who face identity of environmental news, the access that journalists have
the daily challenges of their profession. to them and the ways of promoting and spreading
environmental news.
These reflections led us to the formulation of six questions
that were part of the structured questionnaire. These questions The people that took part in this research were editors who
help to answer each of the following three research questions cover environmental issues for national papers. The titles of the
(Τable Θ): newspapers appeared on the relevant database of the Greek
General Secretariat of Communication and Information. For
R.Q.1: What are the editors‟ views on the visibility of the precise number and the names of the environmental editors,
environmental issues in the Greek media? the researchers contacted the Press Office of the Ministry of
TABLE I. QUESTIONS THAT WERE PLACED IN THE STRUCTURED
Environment but they were not given these data.
QUESTIONNAIRE AND THEIR RELEVANCE TO THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The sampling method chosen was the snowball method [58,
Question Research question 59], a non-probabilistic sampling that gives priority to some
1. In your opinion how satisfactory is the members of the population over others, by limiting the
degree of coverage of environmental issues RQ1 generalization of the results to the population. This method is
by the Greek media? used when the target-group is hardly recognizable, making it
2. From the following environmental issues almost impossible to have a sampling frame. In this case a few
which in your opinion are covered more by RQ1
the Greek Media?
selected individuals who are known to belong to the group are
3. From the following environmental issues asked to invite others to participate, gradually increasing the
which in your opinion should be covered RQ1 sample size.
more by the Greek Media?
4. What are the reasons in your opinion for During the pilot research it was possible to approach two
RQ2a environmental editors and through their recommendations the
the low visibility of environmental news?
5. To what extent each one of the following researchers came in contact with the rest. For those newspapers
channels of information provide the most RQ2b that it was not possible to contact the environmental editor, the
reliable environmental news coverage? questionnaire was dispatched to the editor in chief with the
6. Which of the following channels of
information will you consider to be the most
request to forward it to the accredited editor. In total, ten (10)
RQ2b environmental editors took part in our research from the 23
reliable for the dissemination of
environmental news? contacted. In particular the editors that took part in the research
were, among others, from the newspapers Kathimerini, Ta Nea,
Also, in order to examine the method and extent of Eleftherotypia, Dimokratia, Adesmeytos Typos, Rizospastis,
environmental news coverage, this research investigates not Avgi, Real News. It is worth noting that on the day the
only the established journalistic standards, which profoundly questionnaires were dispatched, Kathimerini, Rizospastis and
shape the selection and construction of news, but also the Avgi were the three first -in circulation- morning national
problems that are identified in the understanding and newspapers. It is also worth highlighting that the on the day the
communication of environmental news, as well as the channels questionnaires were dispatched, the circulation of Ta Nea was
used for their transmission. on top of the national evening newspapers with 43.360 papers,
whereas Eleftherotypia was the fourth -in circulation- evening
R.Q.2a: What are the reasons for the deficit of newspaper with 22.290 papers. Moreover Adesmeytos Typos
environmental issues coverage compared to other issues, was the sixth in circulation with 10.150 papers and Dimokratia
according to editors? the seventh with 9.130 papers. Consequently, the morning
R.Q.2b: Which are the most reliable and effective channels papers were among the top three in circulation and the evening
of environmental information, according to editors? papers among the top ten [60].

II. METHODOLOGY The questionnaires were sent via e-mail and the whole
process took approximately three months (January-March). A
The method used to collect the data for our research is that week after the dispatch of the questionnaires, the researchers
of the structured questionnaire. It is important to note that this sent a reminder, which was followed by a phone call. For the
research is part of a more extensive research project. The processing of our data, we used the statistical package SPSS
specific issues raised in the questionnaire were determined by and more specifically the descriptive statistics and the
reviewing the related literature [13, 16, 35, 37, 42, 54-57]. Friedman test as we processed qualitative variables, in order to
Before the formation of the final questionnaire, a pilot extract the main issue from each of the six multi-thematic
questionnaire was designed. The pilot questionnaire with 11 variables as they are cited in Table I. The Friedman test is used
questions was sent to two environmental press editors from two to compare the values of three or more correlated groups of

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variables. The distribution of the Friedman test is x2 less effective measures that have to do with the decline of
distribution with degrees of freedom (DF) DF = k-1, where k is greenhouse gases in the atmosphere [54]. Moreover the big
the number of teams or samples. This test classifies the values issue is that media are concerned with selective environmental
of variables for every subject separately and calculates the news, such as environmental accidents, and do not cover
mean rank of classification values for each variable [61, 62]. environmental news in time. Hansen notes that severe
environmental news „impose‟ on the daily agenda whereas
III. RESULTS chronic environmental issues that are not urgent will become
The results of this research focus on the satisfaction of news only if someone refers to them [15]. Extensive coverage
environmental editors concerning the degree of coverage of of the climate change issue is observed around important news
environmental issues in the media. Through a number of topics, such as the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 or the Copenhagen
the editors were asked to evaluate the ones that were most conference in 2010.
popular in coverage. Furthermore, the research explores the The high visibility of recycling issues possibly stems from
editors‟ views on the possible reasons that the coverage of the increase of local government campaigns and of recycling
environmental issues is scarce in the news agenda, on which is programs. In addition, recycling can be an issue in which
the most reliable media and finally on the ways of expanding citizens can participate actively.
the reporting of environmental news (Table II)
Additionally, the issues of air and water pollution and those
TABLE II. JOURNALISTS‟
SATISFACTION WITH THE DEGREE OF having to do with energy waste in buildings have relevant
COVERAGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES BY GREEK MEDIA. PERCENTAGES (%) visibility. Disagreement exists among editors about the
Very Satisfied Satisfied Dissatisfied Very Dissatisfied coverage of issues such as floods and European environmental
law. There is low visibility of issues that have to do with
0 40 60 0
ecological means of transportation, waste, risks from nuclear
energy and the decline of non-renewable resources. Finally,
Editors do not seem to agree on the degree of coverage of according to environmental editors there is low visibility or
environmental issues in the Greek media. 60% of editors none of issues related to the decline of rural areas, noise, risks
believe that the coverage of environmental issues is scarce, from biotechnology, sustainable development, acid rain, the
whereas 40% believe that there is ample coverage. This ozone hole and biodiversity. After the application of the
discrepancy could be attributed to the journalists‟ diverse Friedman test (X2=83.952, DF=17, Asymp.sig=0.000), the
perceptions regarding what constitutes satisfactory coverage. most important issue of the multi-thematic variable
For a number of editors the sole reference on environmental „environmental issues that get the most visibility in the Greek
issues is enough, whereas for others a further analysis is media‟ is the greenhouse effect that got an average ranking of
necessary in order to inform the public fully. Shanahan 14.13. In particular, 70% of environmental editors believe that
emphasizes satisfactory – in terms of quantity – environmental the greenhouse effect gets sufficient coverage, 20% limited
coverage doesn‟t necessarily mean satisfying the need for coverage and 10% excessive coverage (Table III).
quality environmental information [63]. To educate an Environmental editors were also asked which issues require
environmentally aware audience, it is vital to encourage media further coverage from the Greek media. Environmental issues
coverage of environmental issues, not just in terms of quantity, that were listed to be evaluated were the same as above
but also in terms of quality of coverage [64]. Environmental mentioned. Environmental editors contend that the issue of
editors claim that when the visibility of environmental issues biodiversity should be covered more often. It is important to
increases, the public‟s information on these issues subsequently note the coverage of biodiversity by the media. On the one
increases. hand, editors think that they don‟t cover it enough but, on the
A. The visibility of environmental issues in the Greek media other hand, they believe that it should be covered more than
any other issue. What differentiates their stand could be the
Environmental editors were asked to evaluate in terms of deficit of specialised knowledge and also the lack of interest
visibility and coverage the following environmental issues: from the public in issues that do not connect directly with their
water pollution, air pollution, floods, waste, noise, biodiversity, everyday lives.
decline of rural areas, risks from nuclear energy, acid rain, the
ozone hole, the decline of non-renewable resources, the
greenhouse effect, risks from biotechnology, recycling,
ecological means of transportation, „green‟ building (intensive
building, areas at risk from infection) and European
environmental law.
Environmental editors think that the issues that are most
visible are the greenhouse effect and recycling. The high
visibility of the greenhouse effect news and the climate change
findings is in line with the findings of Carvalho and Burgess
that argue that journalists tend to link increasingly dramatic
weather phenomena (floods and heat waves) with the global
climate change [16]. Research shows that the media in general
do not cover the ways of adjusting to climate change, but cover

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TABLE III. PERCENTAGES OF JOURNALISTS‟ VIEWS ON ENVIRONMENTAL There is a conflict among environmental editors concerning
NEWS REGARDING NEWS THAT IS COVERED OR SHOULD BE COVERED MORE BY
GREEK MEDIA. PERCENTAGES (%) the comparison of the environmental issues that receive more
attention and those that should get more coverage.
Not Very Widely Very Mean Environmental editors would like to cover issues related to
DK
at all Little Widely rank
Water 0 30 60 10 0 13.25 biodiversity but current affairs or other difficulties force them
pollution (0) (0) (30) (70) (0) (11.10) to cover the greenhouse effect and recycling more.
Air pollution
0 40 40 20 0 13.15 Environmental editors commenting on the coverage of
(0) (0) (30) (70) (0) (11.10) environmental issues [54] cite difficulties such as lack of time
0 50 30 20 0 12.20 and scientific specialisation to check the data. Biodiversity
Floods
(0) (10) (60) (30) (0) (7.60)
10 50 40 0 0 10.40
issues are linked directly to the protection of species under
Waste threat or with the downgrading or declining of Greek
(0) (0) (40) (60) (0) (10.40)
Sound 60 20 20 0 0 6.45 ecosystems. These issues on the environment are covered
pollution (0) (0) (30) (70) (0) (11.05) occasionally through the initiative of non-governmental
20 50 10 0 20 6.85 organisations but these bodies have been unable inspire
Biodiversity
(0) (0) (20) (80) (0) (11.70) environmental journalists and the media in a systematic way.
Decline of 80 0 0 0 20 2.80
rural areas (0) (0) (40) (60) (0) (10.45)
Besides, the media agenda is often triggered by an event such
Risks from 30 50 10 10 0 8.45 as the greenhouse effect in the present circumstances or as it
nuclear energy (10) (10) (30) (50) (0) (8.25) happened with the oil spill of the Exxon Valdez in March 1989,
Acid rain
10 90 0 0 0 3.80 the „triggering event‟ that put this environmental issue on the
(10) (20) (30) (50) (0) (6.85) agenda of the American media, the public and the government
The ozone 10 80 10 0 0 8.85 [65].
hole (0) (40) (20) (40) (0) (6.65)
The decline of B. Reasons for the low visibility of environmental news
20 40 30 0 10 8.85
non-renewable
(0) (10) (10) (70) (10) (9.70) A number of possible reasons for the low visibility of
resources
The green 0 20 70 10 0 14.10 environmental news was evaluated by editors. These are the
house effect (0) (10) (40) (50) (0) (8.90) following: environmental news is boring, creates pessimism, is
Risks from 60 40 0 0 0 5.35 difficult to understand, is not one of the routine problems of the
biotechnology (0) (20) (20) (60) (0) (9.25)
average citizen, is interesting to the people but they think that
Sustainable 10 50 20 0 20 7.80
development (0) (0) (40) (60) (0) (10.20) there is nothing they can do about these problems, is in conflict
10 10 70 10 0 13.40 with the interests of politicians and big companies who exert
Recycling
(0) (10) (20) (70) (0) (10.40) pressure in order to ignore the issues, is not popular in the
Ecological media and finally lacks specialisation and experience of the
10 60 30 0 0 10.30
means of editors on the issues (Table IV).
(0) (20) (30) (50) (0) (8.20)
transportation
Green building Environmental editors that participated in the present
(intensive research think that the main reason for the scarcity of
30 0 50 20 0 13.85
building, areas
at risk from
(0) (0) (40) (60) (0) (10.20) environmental news is that it is in conflict with the interests of
infection) politicians and big companies that do what it takes to keep
European these issues off the media agenda. Two additional serious
10 40 50 0 0 11.15
environmental
(0) (10) (40) (50) (0) (9.0)
reasons are that environmental news does not have a large
law readership and that there is a deficit of journalistic knowledge
Outside brackets‟ percentages indicate environmental news that is and experience on environmental issues. After the application
covered, whereas inside brackets‟ percentages indicate environmental
news that should be more widely covered by the Greek Media of the Friedman test (X2=4, DF=, Asymp.sig=0.000) the main
issue of the multi-thematic variable „reasons for the deficit of
environmental news‟ is that „it is in conflict with politicians‟
Moreover, according to the editors the issues of air and interests‟ and these politicians put pressure in order to have
water pollution, noise, recycling and the decline of non- these issues ignored that had an average ranking 7.20. In
renewable natural resources should have a significant place in particular, 40% totally agreed, 50% agreed and only 10%
the coverage of environmental issues. Finally, it is worth disagreed (Table IV).
mentioning that 30-40% of environmental editors report that
issues that refer to the ozone hole and acid rain should be
covered less or not at all (Table III).
After administration of the Friedman test (X2=46.112,
DF=17, Asymp.sig=0.000), the main issue of the multi-
thematic variable „environmental issues that should receive
greater coverage in the Greek media‟ is biodiversity, which had
an average ranking of 11.70. In particular 80% consider that
biodiversity should be covered a lot and 20% that it should be
covered adequately (Table III).

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TABLE IV. PERCENTAGES REGARDING JOURNALISTS‟ VIEWS FOR THE Furthermore, the editors‟ belief that a serious problem for
REASONS FOR LOW VISIBILITY OF ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS. PERCENTAGES (%)
the coverage of environmental news is journalists‟ deficit of
Totally
Agree
Neither
agree/nor Disagree
Totally Mean environmental education is in line with the findings of previous
agree disagree rank research [53]. Low interest in environmental news but also the
disagree
They are deficit of knowledge and experience of journalists on
0 0 30 40 30 2.75
boring environmental issues are obstacles that follow and they are in
They create
pessimism
0 20 40 20 20 3.80 line with findings of previous research [56]. It is interesting to
They are note that the findings of the present research is in contrast to
difficult to 10 30 0 60 0 4.35 the findings of Giannoulis et al. which claimed that the deficit
understand of scientific knowledge is not mentioned by press journalists as
They are not a problem that leads to a deficit in the coverage of
one of the environmental news [42]. It is though in line with the not so
routine
problems of
10 20 10 40 20 4.10 clear findings of Giannoulis et al. [42], which stated that there
the average is indeed a deficit in the coverage of environmental news in the
citizen Greek press.
They are
interesting to C. Channels of information that provide the most reliable
the people, but environmental news
they think that
there is 0 10 40 30 20 3.95 Sources of environmental news determine the content,
nothing they objectivity and correctness of the news to a large extent.
can do about Channels of information that probably provide the most
these reliable environmental news and that environmental editors
problems were asked to evaluate were: the press, TV, radio, specialised
They are in
conflict with
books and magazines, discussions with friends, relatives,
the interests of colleagues etc. and the public speeches in schools and
politicians universities (Table V).
40 50 0 10 0 7.20
who exert
pressure in TABLE V. PERCENTAGES OF JOURNALISTS‟ VIEWS REGARDING
order to ignore CHANNELS OF INFORMATION THAT PROVIDE THE MOST RELIABLE
the issues ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS COVERAGE. PERCENTAGES (%)
They are in
Very A Not Mean
conflict with Adequate DK
much Little at all rank
the interests of
big companies Press 20 60 20 0 0 4.35
60 20 0 20 0 7.05
that exert
pressure in Television 0 10 70 20 0 2.20
order to ignore Radio 0 40 50 10 0 2.95
the issues
They are not Specialised
popular in the 40 10 30 20 0 6.00 books and 50 50 0 0 0 5.30
media magazines
There is lack Discussions
of with friends,
0 20 40 30 10 2.10
specialisation relatives,
and 20 40 10 30 0 5.80 colleagues etc
experience of Public speeches
the journalists in schools and 20 50 30 0 0 4.10
on the issues universities

There is common ground among researchers that have According to the editors, specialised books, magazines and
undertaken the topic that editors are being pressured by public speeches are more reliable channels of information than
advertisers, companies and the state and that journalists are radio and television. After the application of the Friedman test
often reluctant to disagree with the government even if there (X2=27.310, DF=5, Asymp.sig=0.000), the main issue of the
are strong indications of the improper handling of multi-thematic variable „channels of information that provide
environmental issues [35,36]. This reaction is expected when reliable environmental information‟ is the „specialized books
we consider that through advertisements large companies and and magazines‟ with an average ranking of 5.30. More
the state are the most popular commercial partners of the media specifically, 50% of the environmental editors that participated
and consequently every bit of negative publicity threatens this in the research think that these texts offer very reliable
partnership. In the 21st century the power of influence and environmental information and the rest 50% that they offer
agenda setting that was attributed to the press is being reliable enough environmental information (Table V).
transferred to the market, especially to large companies, and The findings of the European Environmental Agency in a
away from the media [66]. research conducted among European environmental journalists
were similar to ours. The conclusions of this research stated

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that the press spreads the majority of the environmental TABLE VI. PERCENTAGES OF JOURNALISTS‟ VIEWS REGARDING
CHANNELS OF INFORMATION THAT JOURNALISTS CONSIDER TO BE THE MOST
information in society. However, the broadcasting media are RELIABLE FOR THE DISSEMINATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS. PERCENTAGES
considered to have the strongest impact on society. Even (%)
though the press is considered responsible for spreading the Very A Not Mean
majority of environmental news, it is to blame for reduced Adequate DK
much Little at all rank
reliability as far as the quality of information is concerned. Environmental
50 40 10 0 4.30
Nevertheless, research shows that they enjoy more reliability documentaries
among citizens than they deserve, given the fact that Television and
radio discussion
inconsistencies and limitations exist. On the other hand,
panels among 20 60 10 10 0 3.20
specialised magazines offer more reliable environmental news specialists and
[67]. There is also low reliability of the press in Greece due to public
the fact that from the middle of the 1980s corruption and Specialised
scandals were part of the public agenda and the press was also environmental 20 50 20 0 10 2.90
complicit [68, 69]. programs
Articles in the
40 50 10 0 0 3.90
D. The most effective channels for the dissemination of daily press
environmental news Articles in the
50 30 0 10 10 4.30
specialised press
The channels of information that are more effective for the Internet 60 40 0 0 0 4.95
dissemination of environmental news and that were asked to be
Environmental
evaluated by editors were environmental documentaries, exhibitions
50 40 0 10 0 4.45
television and radio discussion panels among specialists and
public, specialised environmental programs, articles in the
daily press, articles in the specialised press, the Internet and In conclusion, new technologies and the Internet enable all
environmental exhibitions. parties involved in the dissemination of environmental news to
interact and to participate in the creation and dissemination of
The most effective channels of information for the environmental information that answers their needs and
dissemination of environmental news according to the editors motivates the public to environmental action. It should be
are the Internet, environmental documentaries, environmental noted that because of its ability to support multiple
exhibitions, articles in the specialised press and articles in the technologies, the Internet can work as an advantage or a
daily press. Finally, environmental editors do not consider disadvantage for the user, depending on the way it is being
television and radio discussion panels among specialists and used. The Internet as a medium can not work independently as
the public effective even if previous research has shown that a factor of social change. Besides, digital media are historically
broadcasting media are considered to have a considerable sensitive receivers of information, with features that are being
impact on society (Table VI). determined by history [71]. That is to say that digital media in
After the application of the Friedman test (X2=20.679, every epoch have different characteristics which guide the way
DF=6, Asymp.sig=0.002), the main issue of the multi-thematic people listen and react to the information. Furthermore cultural
variable „channels of information that editors consider more and historical context gives additional characteristics to
effective for the dissemination of environmental news‟ are the digital‟s media profile and use. Finally, it is worth noting the
Internet, with an average ranking of 4.95. More specifically, complete agreement of environmental editors regarding the
60% of editors consider it to be a very effective channel of effectiveness of the Internet for the dissemination of
information, whereas 40% consider it to be quite effective environmental news.
(Table VI).
IV. CONCLUSION
Media can influence personal behaviours, attitudes and The present research aims to map the visibility of
views and constitute the main source of information for environmental issues in the Greek media and at the same time
environmental news because they have access to a large sheds light on the reasons for the deficit of environmental
percentage of the public. Therefore, international conferences issues coverage and the reliability and efficacy of the channels
orient journalists towards becoming more active parts of the of environmental information through the environmental
process of environmental communication [70]. The insufficient editors‟ lens. In addition, it breaks new ground in the way
and problematic dissemination of environmental news through environmental journalism is practiced in Greece by
traditional media can be overcome through the Internet, which approaching it from the editors‟ point of view, a procedure
has been developed as a medium of civil society. The Internet which can be useful for further comparative analyses.
is effective in the encouragement of alternative movements, in
the support of organisations without enough financial sources This paper does not exhaust the topic and future research
and has additional uses to the traditional media. Besides, should test its hypotheses on television but also on other media
politicians and media also use digital media to state their own and especially on social media. An important limitation of the
aims [71]. current study is that data depend on the subjective evaluation of
editor‟s own performance, while future research on the topic
should involve the development of an independent measure
that would assess both editors‟ and readers‟ perceptions and
combine results. Furthermore, it is necessary to systematise the

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measurement variables of visibility, in order to develop an [6] Dunwoody, S. and Peters, H., 1992, Mass Media Coverage of
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