The relationship between the media and the ecocrisis was discussed by researchers and journalists at Puistokatu 4

HELSUS, in cooperation with Puistokatu 4, organised a panel discussion on the relationship between the ecocrisis and the media.

Researchers and journalists met in the cozy setting of Puistokatu 4 to discuss what journalists and researchers can do to ensure that the ecocrisis is covered more comprehensively by the media. The panelists were Petja Pelli, the economics and politics editor of Helsingin Sanomat, Marja Heinonen, a media journalist and long career journalist and researcher at Ykspilkkuviis, Tina Nyfors, a PhD researcher in the field of moderation and former journalist at the University of Helsinki, and Toni Ruuska, a lecturer in sustainable economics, also from the University of Helsinki.

The panel was organised and moderated by Viola Hakkarainen, Research Fellow at the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, and Sini Holopainen, Master of Social Sciences in sustainability science, from the HELSUS coordination team.  

The recording of the panel is available on YouTube. The discussion is unfortunately only in Finnish.

The event was an opening for a broader discussion on the media's responsibility in reporting on the sustainability crisis and how researchers could support journalists in in-depth and system-level understanding of sustainability reporting in the era of the ecocrisis.

How to achieve a more systemic approach to reporting so that sustainability is a cross-cutting issue? What is the role of editorial management and individual journalists in bringing a more holistic perspective to the ecological disaster that is raging in the background? Should there be more teamwork between different editorial departments to break down silos and create more systemic narratives about the world? Could sustainability researchers be seen more often on the morning TV sofa commenting on current issues? How could researchers support the media and news coverage in a way that promotes the sustainability transformation?

The media and the research world share surprisingly similar problems, such as fragmentation and lack of time. News is produced in their own newsrooms, just as research is produced in their own faculties and departments. The aim of remaining neutral and objective is also common to many researchers and journalists.

Petja Pelli and Tina Nyfors argue that there is no such thing as neutral reporting because journalists usually have a point of view or a position on an issue. Also research is always done from a chosen perspective and starting point, even if the research tries to be as objective as possible.  

It is important to update journalists' knowledge on sustainability issues at more holistic level. The skills and resources of researchers to take their own research forward into the public debate, both in the media and in the awareness of decision-makers and citizens, are also still in their infancy.

"Researchers have a long way to go before they are able to systematically popularise their own research," said Toni Ruuska during the discussion. The journalists also called for clarity in the way researchers communicate science, and for the courage to raise their own research topics in the debate through topical issues.

The Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science urges researchers to be bold in their contacts with the media, to take up topical issues and to offer news tips on their own sustainability research. The HELSUS coordination can help in this so if you need advice, please contact