Columbia Journalism Review destroyed front pages of major newspapers to highlight climate change

A new initiative pushes for more coverage of the issue in publications around the world

Published On
Sep 20, 2019

Editor's Pick

In the lead-up to today’s global climate strike, the Columbia Journalism Review is pushing media publications to increase their coverage of climate change and the damaging effects of severe weather around the world.

The majority of climate scientists say carbon emissions must be cut drastically in the next few years to prevent catastrophic warming, but more than half of the 50 largest newspapers in the U.S. didn’t mention last year’s report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that laid out the evidence for the crisis. ABC News spent more time in three days covering the birth of royal baby Prince Archie than it gave to the topic of climate change throughout all of 2018.


CJR kicked off its initiative with “Flood the News,” an art series featuring stark treatments of major newspapers representing the dangers each publication’s city faces. The organization worked with visual artist Joan Wong, who treated dozens of front pages, which were showcased at a gallery event earlier this week.

The New York Times bears a pronounced flood mark caused by a combination of mud, sewage and seawater immediately recognizable to anyone who lived through Hurricane Sandy. The Sydney Morning Herald and the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California, are scorched as if by wildfire and extreme heat. And the Maharashtra Times from Mumbai, India, is polluted with fossil fuel emissions.

More than 220 news organizations have signed on with CJR to focus more reporting on climate change, including major newspapers, magazines, television and radio broadcasters and news and photo agencies in North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.