Toward an Interwoven Community of Practice: How Do NGOs Work With Chinese Journalists on Reporting Climate Change?

Yeheng Pan, Michaël Opgenhaffen, Baldwin Van Gorp


Since climate governance gained political traction in China, NGOs have emerged as an active stakeholder. Media work, one of NGOs’ main activities with significant implications for Chinese climate journalism, remains underexplored. This study fills this lacuna by examining how NGOs interact with Chinese journalists and discussing how their interactions affect their mutual relations and climate reporting. A group of Chinese climate NGO professionals and journalists were followed over a period of two years (COP21–COP23) on WeChat. Drawing on the concept of community of practice, group chats are analyzed in terms of members’ expertise construction and interpersonal networking. Through online observation, supplemented by fieldwork at COP21 and COP23 and interviews of key members during COP25, this study argues that when analyzing Chinese climate NGO–journalist relations, it is necessary to take into account interpersonal ties and climate expertise, two shaping factors for a potential interwoven community among the two actors.


China, climate change, NGO, journalist, community of practice

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