WWU professor to discuss media coverage of global warming May 7

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 9:52am
Western Today staff

Sheila Webb, associate professor of Journalism at Western Washington University, will give a talk titled Media Coverage of Global Warming – Fair OR Balanced? at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 7 in the Bellingham City Council Chambers, 210 Lottie St., in Bellingham.

The free, public talk is an installment of the WWU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Lecture Series and is co-sponsored by the City of Bellingham.

The press has been called a “social barometer,” as it has played an important cultural role in explaining, picturing, and interpreting events. Thus, the case can be made that coverage of global warming bears on policy. Professor Webb will discuss journalism norms and processes that influence the coverage of global warming, among them: a drive for false balance that distorts; a selection of facts that misleads; a reliance on sources, often non-experts; a rhetoric of alarmism; a lack of robust coverage; and the cost to politicians in focusing on the issue.

Sheila Webb is an associate professor in the Department of Journalism at Western where she teaches visual journalism, research methods, and history and ethics of media. She holds a doctorate in mass communication and a M.F.A. in graphic design and photography, both from the University of Wisconsin. She has received both research and teaching awards, such as the Covert Award for the best publication on media history and a Best Practices Award for visual communication from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Professor Webb has served as project manager of ONline@UW, a web publishing group for civic journalism clients, and has worked in museums as an educator, curator, and public information coordinator. Her publications analyze the role of magazines in American life and culture from qualitative, historical, and narrative perspectives, and deal with how photographers, editors, and publishers frame visuals and text.

Audience questions for Webb’s May 7 talk will be welcomed.  The lecture will be recorded and shown on Bellingham TV Channel 10.

For more information on this lecture, please contact Kimberley Kolb Ayre, WWU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, (360) 650-3763, or kimkolb.ayre@wwu.edu

The College of Humanities and Social Services (CHSS), the university’s largest college,  includes the 13 departments of : AnthropologyCommunication Sciences and DisordersPhysical Education, Health and Recreation;  Political SciencePsychologySociologyCommunication Studies; EnglishHistoryJournalismLiberal StudiesModern and Classical Languages, and Philosophy as well as three interdisciplinary programs: East Asian Studies, Linguistics, and Women Studies.