More than half of all articles written about renewables by the mainstream media portray them in a “negative” light, according to new research published by the CleanTech division of PR consultancy CCgroup.

The study, How the UK national media treats renewables, analysed the print editions of the UK’s five most widely circulated national newspapers throughout July. More than 51% of the 138 articles focusing on renewables were either negative or very negative in their perception of the industry. Conversely, only 21% of the articles published were deemed positive or very positive in their coverage of renewables.

Articles were qualitatively assessed for their general sentiment towards renewables, with those taking a “one-sided” view that portrayed renewables in a “poor” light categorisd as “very negative”, while those taking a similar stance, but with some balancing opinion or comment were classed as “negative”.

The majority of renewables coverage was focused on wind, with articles focusing on the technology appearing five times more frequently than solar, marine or hydro. Of those focusing on wind, 58% portrayed the technology in a negative light.

Although coverage of solar was far more favourable than wind, just 18% of the 138 articles analysed focused on PV. The figure shows that the industry is continuing to struggle to gain meaningful coverage following the high-profile fallout surrounding the cuts to the feed-in tariff.

Charlotte Webster, Head of CleanTech at CCgroup, said: “Right when the renewables industry should be seeing rapid growth, it’s in the centre of a communications crisis with the media holding one arm behind its back. This economy boosting, innovative, business savvy industry is simply not having its story heard.”

She continued: “I’d advise that organisations in the renewables space regain control and make themselves available to media by investing in communications, particularly with the trade press. Tuning into talking and telling stories of innovation and growth will help strengthen the industry and increase the visibility of positive stories and facts in the media as a whole. What’s clear is that investment really is needed to turn this picture around.”


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