James' teaching and research are focused on the portrayals of climate change in legacy, digital-born and social media in the UK and around the world, and environmental communication in general. This has covered a wide range of research areas including climate denialism, risk and uncertainty, animal agriculture and climate change, lab-grown meat, extreme weather events, climate niche sites and biodiversity loss.
James was the Director of the Journalism Fellowship Programme at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University for eight years until September 2017, and remains a research associate there. He is currently an external collaborator on the LEAP project at the James Martin School, also at Oxford. He has been a visiting professor at the IKMZ in the University of Zurich (2017-8), at the University of Navarra in Pamplona (2018), and at the University of Perugia (2018). He has supervised several Masters and Doctoral students at the School of Geography.
James previously worked as a journalist for several years, particularly at the BBC World Service, where he was head of the Spanish American Service, head of the BBC Miami office, and Executive Editor Americas. He has carried out several consultancies for the IPCC, IPBES, Oxfam, UNDP, Conservation International and other organisations.
His current research projects include:
- Animal agriculture, climate change and dietary options in mainstream and social media (he is a collaborator on the LEAP project at the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University.
- Climate denialism in the media (he is currently working on a study of the television coverage of the August 2021 IPCC report, through a project as part of the CSSN network, coordinated out of Brown University).
- The textual and visual media portrayals of extreme weather events, with a particular focus on Extreme Event Attribution (he is working with climate researchers at the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University)
- The growing importance of niche sites on climate change (coordinated via the University of Helsinki)
- Painter, J. (2021). The international coverage of biodiversity loss. Chapter in Takahashi B et al., (eds.), The Handbook of International Trends in Environmental Communication. Routledge.
- Painter, J., Ettinger, J., Doutreix, M.N. et al. (2021). Is it climate change? Coverage by online news sites of the 2019 European summer heatwaves in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. Climatic Change, 169(4). doi: 10.1007/s10584-021-03222-w
- Strauss, N., Painter, J., Ettinger, J., Doutreix, M., Wonneberger, A., Walton, P. (2021). Reporting on the 2019 European heatwaves and climate change: Journalists’ attitudes, motivations and role perceptions. Journalism Practice, doi: 10.1080/17512786.2021.1969988
- Sanford, M., Painter, J., Yasseri, T. et al. (2021). Controversy around climate change reports: a case study of Twitter responses to the 2019 IPCC report on land. Climatic Change, 167, 59. doi: 10.1007/s10584-021-03182-1
- Schäfer, M. and Painter, J. (2021). Climate journalism in a changing media ecosystem: Assessing the production of climate change‐related news around the world. WIREs. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/wcc.675
- Shea, M.M., Painter, J., Osaka, S. (2021). Power, the Pacific Islands, and the prestige press: A case study of how climate reporting is influenced by UN Framework Convention on climate change summits. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 27(2). doi: 10.1177/19401612211018067doi:10.1177/19401612211018067
- Ettinger, J., Walton, P., Painter, J., Osaka, S., & Otto, F.E.L. (2021). “What’s up with the weather?” Public engagement with extreme event attribution in the United Kingdom. Weather, Climate, and Society, 13(2), 341-352. doi: 10.1175/WCAS-D-20-0155.1
- Ettinger, J., Walton, P., Painter, J. et al. (2021). Climate of hope or doom and gloom? Testing the climate change hope vs. fear communications debate through online videos. Climatic Change, 164, 19. doi: 10.1007/s10584-021-02975-8
- Painter, J., Brennen, J.S. and Kristiansen, S. (2020). The coverage of cultured meat in the US and UK traditional media, 2013-2019: drivers, sources, and competing narratives. Climatic Change, 162: 2379-2396. doi: 10.1007/s10584-020-02813-3
- Painter, J., Osaka, S., Ettinger, J. and Walton, P. (2020). Blaming climate change? How Indian mainstream media covered two extreme weather events in 2015. Global Environmental Change, 63: 102119. doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2020.102119
- Painter, J. and Hassol, S. (2020). Reporting extreme weather events. Chapter in, Holmes, D.C. and Richardson, L.M. (eds.) Research Handbook on Communicating Climate Change Edward Elgar.
- Kristiansen, S., Painter, J. and Shea, M. (2020). Animal agriculture and climate change in the US and UK elite media: Volume, responsibilities, causes and solutions. Environmental Communication, 15(2): 153-172. doi: 10.1080/17524032.2020.1805344
- Painter, J. and Schäfer, M. (2019). Global Similarities and Persistent Differences: A Survey of Comparative Studies on Climate Change Communication. Chapter in, Brevini, B. and Lewis, J. (eds.) Climate Change and the Media New York: Peter Lang.
- Osaka, S., Painter, J., Walton, P. and Halperin, A. (2020). Media representation of extreme event attribution: A case study of the 2011-2017 California drought. Weather, Climate and Society, 12(4): 847-862. doi: 10.1175/WCAS-D-19-0050.1
- Painter, J. (2019). Climate change journalism: Time to adapt. Environmental Communication, 13(3): 424-429. doi: 10.1080/17524032.2019.1573561
- Painter, J. (2018). Journalistic Depictions of Uncertainty about Climate Change Across Countries. Chapter in, Nisbet ,M. (ed.) The Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Kundzewicz, Z.W., Painter, J. and Kundzewicz, W.J. (2017). Climate change in the media: Poland's exceptionalism. Environmental Communication, 13 (3): 366-380. doi: 10.1080/17524032.2017.1394890
- Painter, J. and Gavin, N. (2016). Climate Skepticism in British newspapers, 2007 - 2011. Environmental Communication, 10(4): 432-452. doi: 10.1080/17524032.2014.995193