Jill Hopke

Environmental Communication. Social Movements. Mobile Media.

My analysis of the People’s Climate March published in more than 40 news outlets

My recent think piece for The Conversation analyzing how the People’s Climate Movement used social media in the lead-up to the April 29 People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., with “sister” marches around the country and internationally, has been republished in more than 40 news outlets. Many of them are local newspapers, as well as the International Business Times and Salon.

The original article, “To have impact, the People’s Climate March needs to reach beyond activists,” is available from The Conversation here.

The article was published by news outlets based in at least 18 states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

In addition, as a long-time fan of journalist Bill Moyers I was flattered to find that my analysis was included in a daily round up from his media project BillMoyers.com, “Daily Reads: Climate Marchers Descend on DC; Majority of House Dems Support ‘Medicare-for-All'” on April 28.

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To have impact, the People’s Climate March needs to reach beyond activists

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The 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City.
Annette Bernhardt/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Jill Hopke, DePaul University

Following closely on last week’s March for Science, activists are preparing for the People’s Climate March on Saturday, April 29. This event will mark President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office, and comes as the Trump administration is debating whether the United States should continue to participate in the 2015 Paris Agreement on limiting global carbon emissions. The Conversation

Organizers have worked for over a year to build an intersectional movement that brings together diverse constituencies under the banner of climate justice. They hope to replicate the first People’s Climate March in September 2014, which was the largest climate change mobilization in history.

But surveys show that only about one in five adults in the United States is alarmed about climate change. This means that if climate activists want this march to have a lasting impact, they need to think carefully about how to reach beyond their base.

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Moderated panel on “Fake News: What to Do About It?” April 4

I moderated a panel on Tuesday, April 4 on “Fake News: What to Do About It?” sponsored by DePaul University’s Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, Journalism Program and College of Communication.

Fake News: What to Do About It? (Panel Discussion) from DePaul College of Communication on Vimeo.

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DePaul Alumni University: “Connecting on climate and energy: Finding common ground in an era of political polarization”

I am giving a lecture Saturday, April 8 at the DePaul Alumni University, DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson Blvd.

My talk is entitled “Connecting on climate and energy: Finding common ground in an era of political polarization.” See here for the full schedule.

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DePaul University faculty profile

I recently sat down with the DePaul University Newsline to talk about my research on climate activism and energy development. Below is part of that conversation.

Jill Hopke, assistant professor of journalism in the College of Communication, has dedicated her career to discovering the intersections of people, the environment and media. Her recent studies examine transnational anti-fracking activism on social media. She has also researched discussion of climate change solutions on Twitter during recent climate talks.

Read on to learn more about how Hopke’s research has transformed the way she approaches climate change in her own work and classroom.

Tell me about your most recent research.

I recently started a project with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin – Madison examining social media, specifically Twitter, in relation to the Dakota Access Pipeline and Standing Rock protest. The issue has been in the news again as President Trump issued a memorandum giving approval for the project to move forward in January. Work has since resumed on the pipeline. We are tracking how that protest emerged in the public sphere over the summer and into the fall. Most people are not aware that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s opposition to the pipeline began prior to the spark of its wide-spread attention in August 2016. I’m exploring when, and why, the issue went from being relatively localized to being recognized nationally and internationally and what role social media played. We are comparing the movement against the pipeline to opposition of a proposed shale gas development in 2013 by the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada. There are distinct parallels between the cases, particularly the role of visual imagery.

How can we best approach discussions about the environment?

We are at a very interesting time politically for climate change and energy development issues. Both topics are very politicized, and it’s important to have channels for meaningful dialogue. From research, I’ve learned there is segmentation in social media discourse that makes it harder for meaningful dialogue to occur. My research on Twitter discourse about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, revealed segmented “hashtag publics” of activists and industry supporters, with an absence of dialogue between the two. When we talk about climate change communication, we need to understand the issue is not simply a matter of providing people with more factual information, but base our communication interventions in social science research. There is a spectrum of opinion about climate change that ranges from alarmed to dismissive. Beliefs may be based on an individual’s background, their social networks, political stance or ideology. In discussion of climate and energy issues, we must tailor our messages to reach individuals based on where they fall on the spectrum of dismissive to alarmed.

Read the full piece on the DePaul University Newsline.

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