Getting data to report on this impact measure is a work in progress. This shared measurement system belongs to all members of the Our Living Water Network, so if you have any data or ideas to share with us on this measure, please send us an email at [email protected].
Closely aligned with our impact measure on freshwater awareness, tracking media trends and how media is advancing a narrative on freshwater is important to understand.
This research establishes a baseline measure of media trends by analyzing media coverage related to the Our Living Waters impact measures for the years 2007, 2012, and 2017.
Media coverage of freshwater issues across Canada indicates an overall decline on coverage of water issues nationally. Cumulative media coverage decreased by 17% between the base year of 2007 and 2012 and by 36% by 2017. Though it is certainly possible that water stories may have increased in years not studied, a general trend downward has appeared. Repeating the study annually in the next few years will determine the degree to which spikes in news coverage adjust the trends.
During the period studied, OLW impact measures that featured most prominently in the media (in order) included:
- Enforceable Water Quality Standards
- Pipeline Threats
- Freshwater Awareness
- Citizen Legal Action (search used captured coverage of other legal actions or challenges involving water)
- Green Infrastructure
The OLW impact measures coverage of Pipeline Threats, Freshwater Awareness, and Enforceable Water Quality Standards were at their highest in 2007.
Green Infrastructure, on the other hand, has been gaining in media attention, increasing in coverage by 12% from 2007 to 2017. The addition of tracking keywords “rain garden” “green roof” to “green infrastructure” may have influenced this upward trend.
Does coverage reflect actual threats to freshwater?
The analysis does suggest that media coverage, at least roughly, is covering key threats to freshwater health. Water quality and pipeline threats were the most talked about in the media with Green Infrastructure also becoming more prominent in media attention. This corresponds roughly to the WWF Watershed Reports, which identifies pollution and climate change as the most significant threats to Canada’s rivers. Habitat fragmentation and loss were two “high” threats identified by the WWF analysis that have not factored into this analysis. Given there are no OLW impact measures that capture these threats directly, they were not tracked in this analysis.
Percent change in traditional media stories - 2007, 2012, 2017
|% Change (for 2007 baseline)
|Total Media Stories
5-Year target: To continue tracking this impact measure over time to monitor media coverage trends
Last updated November 2018