It has been 3 years since La Marea (in English: The Tide) has regularly published news on climate change. And this year, it went even beyond that.
La Marea is one of the successful native online news websites that have emerged in Spain in the last years, along with eldiario.es and Infolibre, one could consider it the news Mecca for climate related news.
Recently the editorial board has decided to create a special space for news, research, analysis and alternative reporting interrelating culture and climate change. Climática was in fact launched just a couple of weeks ago.
La Marea’s business model is quite uncommon from most of other news outlets as it is a cooperative business. The co-op is owned by its workers. They are the ones who, collaboratively, decide the editorial line. Their independence is what they highlight as the key factor that allows them to carry out investigations, critical analysis and to cover relevant topics that don’t get enough media attention.
Santiago Saez Moreno has been the Climate Reporter for La Marea and recently the Co-Editor in Chief of Climática. During the last year, he has written over 200 stories. Talking to somebody who had covered extensively the topic seemed like a good start to understand how Spanish media reports on climate change and what are the peculiarities of La Marea.
“There is a growing coverage [in Spanish media outlets] but not a lot,” he said.
One of the examples of slight improvements on qualitative reporting and media coverage he brought up was the decision from El Pais, to include a question about climate change in an interview to the Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sánchez.
“It is improving compared to the previous years. But sometimes it’s still odd science,” he continues. The issue he highlighted is that media outlets keep reporting on climate change as if it was weather coverage. “As a topic, I do not think it is well prioritised as it should be, especially because you can find news only in the environment section of those newspapers,” he continued.
Despite the fact that the topic is entering the major media debate, he’s not convinced that the Spanish media landscape is fast enough in including it.
“For the other media it is merely an environmental issue. We, at La Marea, are trying to mix it up with everything.” He went on explaining what’s missing in the main media outlets by bringing a comparison with what La Marea has done until now: “Most of other media tell the stories solely in terms of consequences. We also research the causes of climate change, we deal with the topic of climate denialism, we focus on social impacts. On Climática especially, we tell it from a culture angle: we publish about art exhibitions or conferences relating to climate change.”
In his opinion, media outlets have not the capacity nor the will to understand the interrelation between climate change and other topics and to report them.
With over 200 articles written on the issue I wanted him to identify some of his major work and understand what it meant for La Marea’s approach to “mixing it up”.
“We did an investigation on the Midcat, the gas pipeline in the Pyrenees. We reported on the issue extensively and I’d like to think this contributed to spread the news”.
Moreover, his op-ed article on the issue on the environmental impact of the aviation sector and the shame of flying has been the first of its kind in Spain, and sparked national discussion on the issue.
“I believe that a great article to read on La Marea is Bifröst a ninguna parte” told me Santiago. The article was a translation from the English Bifrost to nowhere published on The Trouble. La Marea is in fact committed to collaborating with other publications and developing transnational reporting while sharing best practices.
“Media should not be competing, but instead use each other’s resources and help each other,” said Santiago. A system that is working for La Marea as they run multiple collaborations with several media and organisations, including the British De Smog. And this vision, or model, is bringing them quite far.