Going Big For Mass Media


Data and Digital Storytelling Lead, 360info


  1. Why talk to mass media?
  2. Graphics for broadcast
  3. Working with broadcasters and journalists
  4. Emergency broadcasting
  5. Q&A


(Code for these slides is at


A picture of me and my PhD supervisor, Lisa Alexander, at my graduation.

A picture of me and MCCCRH staff members on Zoom.

A picture of me and MCCCRH staff members on a work trip.

A picture of Graham Creed from the ABC presenting climate projections.

A picture of Jane Bunn presenting statistics on shrinking winters.

I used to be a climate + health researcher

Worked with CLEX and MCCCRH on climate change communication

Now I’m a data journalist with

360info is an open access global information agency that tackles the world’s biggest challenges and offers practical solutions.

Why work with
mass media?

"Media polarization and fragmentation… provide favourable opportunity structures for people to seek information in line with their prior beliefs."

Steppat, Herrero & Esser (2022)


Sources of climate change news you trust (n = 2038)

Barchart showing various sources of information on the Y-axis and the fraction of surveyed people who trust them to deliver claimate change information on the X-axis.

Park et al. (2022, p. 18)

As researchers, you have the opportunity to build social consensus for a policy action or change through mass media

Graphics for broadcast


Screenshot of an ABC news story about climate change projections

Display time:

7-10 seconds

Screenshot of an ABC Story Lab article about climate change

Reading time:

11 minutes (excluding graphics)

Attention span

Part of a long-form interactive story

Long-form online video

Blog post

Regular news articles

TV news segment

Short-form online video

A single shot in a TV news segment

Many minutes, very engaged

A few seconds, a little engaged

Complex ideas, built up gradually

(Very, very, very) simple ideas

Considerations for TV

Jane Bunn presenting climate change messaging on 7news

  • Short text
  • “Editorialised” headline or labels
  • Thick text and lines
  • Contrast and colour focus
    • (This example’s not great for contrast! 😅)
  • Presenter position

Considerations for TV

Jane Bunn presenting climate change messaging on 7news

Primary messages

  • Trend line up
  • Warming

Secondary messages

  • Year-to-year variability
  • Length of data record

Working with
broadcasters and journalists

Types of folks you’ll meet

In broadcast:

Reporters and producers


Graphics teams

News directors

In print and digital:



Data journalism team

(Data journo, designer, coder)

Newsroom resourcing

Journalists who are looking for a particular story are time-poor

Look for opportunities to push stories to journalists and develop relationships

Emergency communication


Things to remember (for doing media) during a disaster

  • Ask questions about context
    • What kind of show is it? News? Analysis?
  • Graphics context
    • Do your titles and labels make the non-emergency context clear?
    • Do colours, icons or words conflict with official warning messaging?


Mass media is a great way for researchers to affect change!

Keep your graphics simple and think about the primary message

Journos are time-poor too.
You can understand each other.

Be careful communicating during a disaster

Thanks for listening!