Speaking Out or Staying Quiet on Climate Change: Broadcast Meteorologists Influenced by the Need to Be Pithy, Popular and Politically Cautious

  • Helen MeldrumEmail author
  • David Szymanski
  • Eric A. Oches
  • P. Thompson Davis
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Broadcast meteorologists are in a position to convey knowledge about climate change to the public. These media professionals make deliberate choices about what information to omit or present to their audiences. Interviews with broadcast meteorologists revealed a wide range of attitudes about conveying climate science to their viewers. Three significant concerns emerged from conversations with participants: on-air time constraints are non-negotiable, pressure to be a “popular” personality is constant, and there is an enduring apprehension about taking a position associated with a perceived controversial topic or political viewpoint. Discomfort with these constraints affects the content choices of broadcast meteorologists who might otherwise take a stand representing the scientific consensus on climate change.


Broadcast meteorologists Attitudes and statements on climate change 



We appreciate that this research was supported by a US National Science Foundation Grant 12-22521 through the Advances in Informal STEM Education program. We also thank our Bentley University undergraduate student Kathryn Foley for assistance in multiple ways throughout our NSF-funded project.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Meldrum
    • 1
    Email author
  • David Szymanski
    • 1
  • Eric A. Oches
    • 1
  • P. Thompson Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Natural and Applied SciencesBentley UniversityWalthamUSA

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