Survey: Virginians seeking out news about climate change and solutions

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A George Mason University researcher found a strong interest in reporting on how climate change is affecting local communities — and stories that spotlight solutions.

Virginians are hungry for news about climate change. 

A recent survey by a researcher with long roots at George Mason University found nearly four in five adults in the state expressed interest in reading about how climate change is affecting their communities — slightly above the national average and on par with states like Minnesota, Oregon and Washington.

Interest peaks in northern Virginia’s Washington suburbs, Charlottesville, and coastal areas that have long witnessed flooding and other warming impacts firsthand, and it tapers off significantly in historically coal-reliant counties of the state’s mountainous southwestern reaches.

That takeaway is just a tiny slice of the massive amount of data released recently as Americans’ Interest in Climate News 2020. The joint project relies on sets of colorful, detailed, reader-friendly maps to tell the story of how geography shapes people’s interest in climate change.

Professor Edward Maibach, director of the George Mason Center for Climate Change Communication, spearheaded the endeavor. He collaborated with a similar program at Yale University and Covering Climate Now. The latter is a global journalism …

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