Quantcast

Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
News That We’ll Lose? - Sierra Daily
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Contact Us

March April 2014

Read the latest issue of Sierra

« Turning Purple | Main | The Fiscal Cushion »

Sierra Daily

Jan 11, 2013

News That We’ll Lose?

World climate coverageThe New York Times is dismantling its topnotch 9-person environment department and reassigning its reporters and editors throughout the newspaper. The announcement was cause for alarm among some environmental journalists. “If you don't have the editorial structure to support the kind of commitment needed to do both daily coverage and deeper investigative and explanatory work, it is hard to imagine that you could keep the same level of intensity," Dan Fagin, director of New York University’s Science, Health, and Reporting Program told Inside Climate News

But Times management insists the change is not a bad thing: “Coverage of the environment is what separates the New York Times from other papers,” Dean Baquet, managing editor for news, told Inside Climate News. “We devote a lot of resources to it, now more than ever. We have not lost any desire for environmental coverage. This is purely a structural matter."

Times Dot Earth blogger Andrew Revkin says he believes top editors’ claim. “In a century when the roots of environmental problems often lie half a planet away (consider the ivory trade, or the contribution of greenhouse gases and soot to Arctic ice melting) what's needed most is collaborative post-departmental journalism, not individual desks and editors competing for the front page,” he writes. (Revkin is more alarmed by shrinking revenue at news operations in general: “These background financial pressures building around the industry the same way that heat-trapping greenhouse gases are building in the atmosphere are what will erode the ability of today's media to dissect and explain the causes and consequences of environmental change and the suite of possible responses.”)

The Times stands out when it comes to environmental coverage, consistently leading 5 national papers in number of climate stories published, according to the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado--Boulder. What’s troubling, though, is that when the group compares U.S. newspaper coverage of climate issues to papers around the world, at the end of 2012 --the hottest in U.S. history -- U.S. papers’ climate coverage lagged, besting only South American and African publications (graph above).

Graph by CSTPR. 

HS_ReedMcManusReed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked on the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas ever thus.”

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top