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What Is Sustainable Journalism?

Integrating the Environmental, Social, and Economic Challenges of Journalism

Edited By Peter Berglez, Ulrika Olausson and Mart Ots

This edited volume, which elaborates on the idea and concept of sustainable journalism, is the result of a perceived lack of integral research approaches to journalism and sustainable development. Thirty years ago, in 1987, the Brundtland Report pointed out economic growth, social equality and environmental protection as the three main pillars of a sustainable development. These pillars are intertwined, interdependent, and need to be reconciled. However, usually, scholars interested in the business crisis of the media industry tend to leave the social and environmental dimensions of journalism aside, and vice versa. What Is Sustainable Journalism? is the first book that discusses and examines the economic, social and environmental challenges of professional journalism simultaneously. This unique book and fresh contribution to the discussion of the future of journalism assembles international expertise in all three fields, arguing for the necessity of integral research perspectives and for sustainable journalism as the key to long-term survival of professional journalism. The book is relevant for scholars and master’s students in media economy, media and communication, and environmental communication.


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xxviii | contributions demonstrates the urgent need for new forms of journalism that seek to break with the modern narrative of unlimited growth celebration. A similar argument that questions the idea of endless growth is put forth by Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller through their observation that journalism studies rarely stops to ask how much journalism is enough. In the chapter “Making Journalism Sustainable/Sustaining the Environmental Costs of Journalism,” Max- well and Miller argue that the environmental impacts of journalistic practices asso- ciated with the hardware and software of journalism’s infrastructure are strikingly overlooked in current debates about the sustainability of journalism, which too often get caught in market-oriented discourse. The media’s environmental impact, which grows in conjunction with the digitization process, should be considered as important as environmental journalism that reports on pollution, they argue, and urge journalists and news organizations to stop externalizing social liabilities, to look at the embodied environmental harm journalism causes, and to cultivate an eco-ethical mode of operation. Declan Fahy and Matthew C. Nisbet depart from a quite different perspec- tive in the chapter “The Ecomodernists: Journalists Reimagining a Sustainable Future.” Here, the authors draw on ecomodernist philosophy and its argument that economic growth can proceed in tandem with environmental protection on the assumption that the economic and political systems are restructured to achieve ecological reforms. Using examples of journalists who express ecomodernist ideas in their work, for instance by emphasizing technological innovations, Fahy and Nisbet suggest that journalists could serve in the roles of...

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