AN EVALUATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT NEWS PUBLISHED ON PRINT MEDIA IN TURKEY
Climatic changes that happen depending on global warming, destruction of the ozone layer, contamination of water resources, air pollution, and soil pollution, noise pollution depending on urbanization, extinction and decrease in the species of various plants and animals and radioactive pollution are the most significant environmental problems of our age. It is beyond doubt that in order for people to show awareness for environmental issues and act for solution, the importance of correct information is huge. Accordingly, it is believed that media plays an important role in informing the society of the global environmental issues and solving these problems. In parallel to the environmental issues increasing in recent years, it is seen that the subject of environment is at the center of global agenda. Environmental news that have been gaining variety across the world, television and radio programs and communication campaigns of enterprises applied under the umbrella of social responsibility have been increasing day by day. These activities that can be examined in the field of environmental communication are very important for the prevention and solution to environmental problems. In this regard, environmental journalism, which is a sub-field of environmental communication, will enable the subject of environment and ecological problems to be examined at the social level.
As in the world, news on environmental issues and disasters in Turkish print media have been increasing gradually. The main reason for this is that people show more interest in environmental issues more than they used to against the global environmental issues. However, even though the number of environmental news on print media increases today, these news are insufficient to inform the society of these news, to raise environmental awareness and to active the society for the solution of these problems. It is beyond doubt that the main reason for this situation results from the placement of environmental issues in newspapers when any environmental disaster or an extraordinary situation related to the environment arises. On the other hand, even though there are different specializations in the field of journalism, environmental journalism in Turkey is improving and experienced pressmen are not often encountered. Environmental journalism plays an important role in transferring environmental issues to public and creating environmental public. Nurturing educated journalists, who are specialist in their field, will enable to include environmental news on media constantly and correctly.
The aim of this study is to reveal the deficiencies associated with environmental journalism and offer solutions for the development of the field by evaluating environmental news on print media in Turkey in terms of variety and quantity. In the study, first of all, environmental communication as a new discipline and then, environmental journalism, which is one of the main fields of environmental communication, is examined. After focusing on conceptual explanations related to the subject, newspapers with high circulation such as Sabah, Haberturk, Cumhuriyet, Posta and Hurriyet from 15 December to 31 December 2016 are examined in terms of content analysis and general evaluation is offered in order to investigate how environmental news on print media in Turkey are created. In order for environmental news to be examined in terms of quantity, variety and subject, Frequency Analysis and Category Analysis, which are the most appropriate for the study, are used together. Environmental news on the front page, inside page and cover page are evaluated. During the period, when the evaluation took place, 105 environmental news were encountered. The frequency of environmental news among all of the environmental news in each newspaper, the distribution of environmental news within the period of examination and the categories in which environmental news published on newspapers come into prominence have been analyzed.
Based on the period of examination, it is seen that environmental news are included most on the inside pages of newspapers and the news published on the front pages of newspapers are considered as the announcement of the news published on the inside page. Environmental news bear some quantitative and qualitative deficiency and inadequacy because of the lack of specialization of environmental journalism in Turkey and creating environmental news randomly and improperly mostly by unspecialized journalists. Research findings show that generally environmental news increase on all of the newspapers. However, even though newspapers are considered as a tool reflecting environmental problems, it is evident that they are far from producing solutions to environmental problems and educating and informing the society. Lack of specialization in the field of environmental journalism causes news to be far from being scientific and it is not sufficient for creating environmental awareness. Environmental problems are focused on environmental news published on newspapers and solutions related the problems are pushed aside.
Consequently, publishing environmental news on print media by specialist journalists will enable environmental news to be on a solid ground levelly and properly. Environmental news that will be published on print media by specialist journalists will increase participation in the solution of globally environmental problems and at the same time, will contribute to creating social awareness. It is emphasized in the study that environmental journalism plays a crucial role in developing the field of environmental journalism, meeting the deficiencies in the field and nurturing specialist journalists in the field. Training in environmental journalism should be made in cooperation with universities, non-governmental organization and media organizations. Prevalence of training for the field will increase the number of media organizations where specialist environmental journals are employed and it will enable the development of journalism responsible for society. Furthermore, the increased number of academic studies on environmental communication and environmental journalism and arranging international conferences related to the issue will contribute to the development of the field.
Keywords: Environmental Issues, Environment and Media, Environmental Communication, Environmental Journalism, Environment News Published on Print Media