Editorial Journalism and Environmental Issues in the Majority World
Prior research suggests that reliance on news media is dramatically increased during a public health crisis because people need more information to reduce their anxiety levels. This is an ideal situation for editorialists to influence the public policy-making process around certain social issues related to that health crisis, particularly if established by the scientific community. Drawing on media dependency theory and editorial journalism conceptual framework, we analyzed the editorial coverage of environmental issues in four leading majority world English language newspapers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings suggest that in relation to advocating environmental issues, the editorialists either ignored linking environmental issues to the pandemic or, if they established a link, gave negligible coverage, hence seem to have failed to perform their normative role. Thus, we recommend that civic advocacy groups help build the news media capacity regarding how to cover environmental issues amid a pandemic.