25 publishers of Climate Publishers Network are a good start, but not enough

Back in May 2015, 25 publishers from around the world united to create the Climate Publishers Network (CPN). The concept behind the CPN is, in essence, easy and free access to a large pool of content on climate change issues.

The idea is the brainchild of Alan Rusbridger, the outgoing editor-in-chief of The Guardian, in collaboration with El Pais’ editor-in-chief Antonio Cano as well as support and infrastructure from the Global Editors Network (GEN).

Why a Climate Publishers Network and why now?

The reason for the creation of this network is to promote and keep in the public eye the issue of climate change ahead of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Summit that will be held in Paris this fall from November 30 to December 11 of this year. Often shortened to COP21 (for Conference of all Parties, 21st edition), this summit will be important and significant.

Indeed, this particular conference’s objective is to achieve a legally binding agreement on climate by member countries – something not achieved in the past 20 years.

The ability to quickly and inexpensively exchange content and analysis (owned by each partner) on climate issues would give the participating media organisations enough material to keep their Web sites and newspapers filled with regular material without the hassle of royalties and licenses.

The GEN Web site explains:

“The Climate Publishers Network (CPN) will provide a mutual syndication of articles related to climate change free of charge during the run-up to COP 21. Each media organisation will be able to re-publish material without having to worry about license fees.”

The network publishers: INMA members under represented

Of the 25 media organisations that comprised the initial group, only 10 of them had individual or corporate members represented with INMA.

Currently, the Climate Publishers Network’s 25 founding publishers are:

A list of Climate Publishers Network’s 25 founding publishers with only 10 belong to INMA.
A list of Climate Publishers Network’s 25 founding publishers with only 10 belong to INMA.

Note: circulation numbers are for print only and are a gross often-dated estimate. They are shown only to give a sense of size within the region. The Guardian has a Web and print combined world reach of almost 43 million and dwarfs everyone else.

This initiative is in place until the end of the summit.

The Guardian’s and El Pais’ execution

I didn’t visit every publisher Web site for the organisations mentioned above, but I did visit quite a few and was a bit disappointed. I visited many English- and French-speaking sites and saw little in terms of content exchange, although it’s possible it wasn’t meant to bring attention to the network itself.

Many of the climate articles from some of the sites I visited were either from staff or syndicates like Reuters or Agence France-Presse. Le Monde, understandably, has a large online section dedicated to COP21, which is well done.

One must commend (again) The Guardian for its clear endorsement of the network. See below how easy it is to understand there is a network here.

El Pais’ execution was also clear in indicating the contribution of the CPN.

Not such a great start … at least as of September 2015

Although I love the idea and would like to “call to action” more publishers around the world to join in, I haven’t been able to find out how to join, where the “simple terms and conditions” page is, or even who to contact to join.

I sent a few e-mails to GEN staff asking for details — e-mails that remained unanswered. It doesn’t look like any more publishers from the original 25 have joined the network.

That already speaks volumes about the commitment of the current programme outside The Guardian or El Pais. I sure would like to think we’d be better aware of this honourable endeavour and would be better organised by COP22.

For now I am slightly disappointed.

However, we need more media leadership on this front, so I won’t give up and will pitch in for a last-ditch promotion! Can we have more takers, please?

Contact the GEN staff for information at contact@globaleditorsnetwork.org.

About Andrée Gosselin O’Meara

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