World News Day 2021 sets ambitious target to amplify climate journalism

SINGAPORE - Hundreds of media titles from around the world are signing up to mark World News Day on Sept 28.

This year's campaign focuses on climate change and seeks to strengthen fact-based climate journalism throughout the world. It will highlight the critical importance of journalism in providing trustworthy information about our and the planet's future.

The campaign comes as 2021 is being declared the hottest year on record and amid mounting concerns over global warming's likely consequences.

Nearly 500 news organisations are involved in this year's campaign.

The flagship virtual event of this year's initiative will be a 75-minute Web show, entitled World News Day: The Climate Crisis.

This will be available on the official World News Day YouTube channel, from midnight on Sept 28 and on The Straits Times YouTube channel from noon, the same day.

Mr Warren Fernandez, president of the World Editors Forum (WEF), editor of The Straits Times and editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings’ English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, said: “Journalists have been at the front lines covering the pandemic, helping communities and audiences stay informed and safe.

"We now need to turn attention to the other major challenge our world faces - the climate crisis - and show how journalism can make a difference to save our planet.

"World News Day is an opportunity to go behind the scenes and show how communities are served when journalists do their jobs."

Mr David Walmsley, founder of World News Day and editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail in Canada, said: "The challenges facing our planet need all of our attention and through your participation we can improve journalism and build a greater sense of urgency and relevance that helps us all."

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres warned last week that a failure to slash global emissions is setting the world on a "catastrophic" path to a 2.7 deg C heating.

This exceeds the temperature target set by the UN Paris climate agreement, which called for efforts worldwide to ensure the rise remained below 2 deg C, if not 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels.

Failure to adhere to this target would be "measured in the massive loss of lives and livelihoods", he cautioned.

The UN's own analysis, released last week, showed there could be a 16 per cent rise in global emissions by 2030 compared with 2010, based on current pledges made by the different countries. Scientists have recommended a 45 per cent reduction in global emissions by 2030, to avoid the disastrous consequences of climate change.

This year will be the fourth marking World News Day. Over the years, the campaign has gained traction in newsrooms around the world, with support doubling each year.

Said Ms Cherilyn Ireton, executive director of the World Editors Forum: "Our burning planet will be an ongoing and defining story for newsrooms. Critical, fact-based journalism and great storytelling will affect how communities engage with climate change issues.

"That is why on Sept 28 we are sharing content from all corners of the globe in the hope of stimulating more and greater journalism for the benefit of us all."

In September last year, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, journalists from more than 180 news organisations - including The New York Times, BBC News, The Washington Post, the Financial Times, Axios, The Globe and Mail, The Straits Times, and the Toronto Star - rallied around World News Day to highlight the value of fact-based journalism in an age of misinformation.

Dozens of countries were represented by World News Day-participating organisations, with a global reach of 1.28 billion people.

World News Day 2021 is organised by the WEF and The Canadian Journalism Foundation. It is supported by the Google News Initiative and Lippo Group.