Cristine Russell Photo

Cristine Russell

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy
Office Address
79 John F. Kennedy St. Brattle Sq 1, HKS 559

The media play a unique role in shaping public understanding, policy, and political debate about controversial climate, energy, and environmental issues around the world. However, as mainstream news outlets shrink, the Internet provides a growing global megaphone for confusing and often contradictory information and misinformation. This course, taught by a longtime science journalist, is designed to help students navigate the rapidly changing media landscape, using examples from current global energy and environmental debates. Media topics include the national and global impact of Trump Administration policies; science and climate denialism; climate change and extreme weather; energy, climate and development; the future of fossil fuels, renewable energy and nuclear power; and the changing Arctic. Analyses of media coverage will examine how complex policy issues (involving environmental, health and economic risks/benefits) become polarized and how public communication could be improved. Increasingly, all professionals in the public and private sectors—by choice or necessity—need to become better communicators in conventional and social media. Practical communication, writing and media strategies/skills will include an op-ed, class blog and role-play exercise. Guest speakers add real-world perspectives. Lessons from this course apply readily to other public policy issues as well.