Tania Mason: I don’t want to be that editor that indulges in no-platforming

15 Mar 2021 Voices

G&L editor, Tania Mason, explains why she decided to publish a response to the climate emergency issue which she largely disagrees with.

Readers could be forgiven for feeling somewhat mystified by the fact that I have chosen to publish an article by a climate change sceptic in this edition, given the tone and angle of the three articles in the cover theme section in January.

I have agonised and flipped-flopped over the decision myself, but in the end, I concluded that while I fundamentally disagree with most of Trevor Jones’ arguments (just because there is a lack of certainty in climate modelling does not mean there is a lack of risk, and I am convinced that man-made carbon emissions are having more than a negligible impact on the climate), I felt he had some valid points to make about the governance issues that were raised by the coverage in January.

Plus, we thrive on reader feedback, and I didn’t want to be that editor that indulges in no-platforming. There’s a popular journalism trope that goes like this: if one person says it’s raining and another says it’s not, your job is not to quote them both, it’s to look out of the window and decide who is right. But I am not a climate scientist, and I find myself in the rather curious position of fervently hoping that Mr Jones is right on this issue and I am wrong. So I decided to grit my teeth, publish and be damned – trusting that you, dear readers, can make your own minds up as to whether it is raining.

That said, I am also going to be chairing a panel debate at the inaugural Civil Society Spring Summit next month, on the topic of how charities should engage with the climate emergency. Some of the people that were featured in the January articles will be joining the panel, and here’s a spoiler alert: none of them are climate change sceptics. I had already finalised the panel before I was contacted by Trevor Jones, so there wasn’t space to include him. Would I have, were there space? Hmmm... I am genuinely not sure. Maybe I am that editor after all...

Anyway, you can find out more about this exciting two-day virtual conference on 20 and 21 April here. The theme is Beyond Adversity: Success Strategies for a Post-Covid World, and content will be composed around three specialist streams which align with Civil Society Media’s magazines – charity finance, fundraising and technology, and governance and leadership. There really is something for everyone, so bring your whole team!

We are also delighted to announce the return of the Charity Awards, after a fallow year in 2020 due to coronavirus. The Charity Awards 2021 will be held virtually on 10 June. As well as honouring last year’s entries which were held over, we know that many charities have responded magnificently to the challenges of the pandemic, and so we are also introducing a new award to recognise exceptional work in 2020. Entries for the Rathbones Covid-19 Response Award are open for one month from 1 March. You can find out more and enter here.

Oh, and I have written a book. Co-authored with former Third Sector editor Stephen Cook, it’s called What Have Charities Ever Done For Us?, and it’s being published next month by Policy Press. It’s about charities and the things they do. If you read it, do get in touch and let me know what you think. Who knows, I might even be persuaded to publish an article from you.

Tania Mason, editor, Governance & Leadership

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