New York Times slashes environmental coverage

Jeremy Hance
March 05, 2013

On Friday at 5 PM the New York Times announced it was shutting down it Green blog, which highlighted diverse stories online, from energy to endangered species to climate change. The loss of the New York Times environment blog follows shortly after the paper announced it was dismantling its environment desk and moving all of the reporters to other beats.

"We will forge ahead with our aggressive reporting on environmental and energy topics, including climate change, land use, threatened ecosystems, government policy, the fossil fuel industries, the growing renewables sector and consumer choices," the newspaper said in the Friday statement. However, many were skeptical that the New York Times could keep up on environmental issues without its environmental team and now its Green blog.

"The Green blog was a crucial platform for stories that didn’t fit into the print edition’s already shrunken news hole—which is a lot on the energy and environment beat—and it was a place where reporters could add valuable to context and information to pieces that did make the paper," writes Curtis Brainard at the Columbia Journalism Review.

Journalist, Joe Romm, who heads Climate Progress called the decision "doubly head-exploding" following the impact of Hurricane Sandy last December on New York City. Many scientists say the tropical storm was exacerbated by climate change.

Climate change coverage across the U.S. has been anemic at best, according to media analysts, over recent years in spite of rising warnings from scientists about the impacts of climate change.

When the New York Times dismantled its environment desk in January, it stated that it was simply restructuring how environment reporting was approached in the paper, arguing that environmental issues would be incorporated into other coverage from the economy to politics. However, the loss of the Green blog means there is no-where in the New York Times to seek out stories devoted solely to environmental issue from a wide variety of reporters.

"This change will allow us to direct production resources to other online projects," the New York Times said about the cancellation of the 4-year-old blog. However, Slate reports that while the Green blog is dead, the New York Times is still running 60-plus blogs, including one that covers Award Shows and another devoted to horse-racing. In fact, there are ten sports blogs (including hockey and golf), while only two science blogs, after the loss of the Green blog.

Andrew Revkin will continue his climate blog on the New York Times, Dot Earth.

Related articles

Wall Street Journal climate op-ed: the "equivalent of dentists practicing cardiology"

(02/06/2012) Climate scientists have struck back at the Wall Street Journal after it published an op-ed authored by 16 mostly non-climatologists arguing that global warming was not an urgent concern. The response letter, entitled Check With Climate Scientists for Views on Climate, responds that the Wall Street Journal should seek input on global warming from climate scientists. Six of the 16 authors who published the original article have ties to Exxon Mobil and their professions range from engineers to astronauts. In turn the letter to Wall Street Journal was signed by 38 well-noted climatologists.

Wall Street Journal under attack for climate op-ed

(01/31/2012) The Wall Street Journal is under attack for publishing an op-ed attacking climate science last Friday, while turning down another op-ed explaining climate change and signed by 255 researchers with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which was eventually published in the journal Science. The op-ed last Friday first garnered attention because it was signed by 16 scientists, however other journalists have shown that most of these signatories are not climatologists (the list includes an astronaut, a physician, and an airplane engineer), many are well-known deniers, and at least six have been tied to the fossil fuels industry.

U.S. media favored Keystone pipeline in coverage

(01/26/2012) A new report by Media Matters finds that U.S. TV and print media were largely biased toward the construction of TransCanada's Keystone XL Pipeline, which the Obama administration recently turned down. The report finds that guests and quotes were largely in favor of the pipeline in addition to news outlets consistently repeating job figures for the pipeline that have been discredited.

Climate change media coverage drops 20 percent in 2011

(01/05/2012) Global media reporting on climate change issues was down again last year, according to a new analysis from The Daily Climate. The news organization counted around 19,000 stories on climate issues during the year written by 7,140 journalists, falling 20 percent from 2010 levels.

Discovery Channel backtracks, promises to air climate change episode of new Frozen Planet series

(12/07/2011) Discovery Channel has announced that it will, in fact, air the last episode of the new series Frozen Planet, which focuses solely on the impact of climate change at the world's poles. By the creators of universally-acclaimed Planet Earth, the full series explores the wildlife and environs of the Arctic and Antarctic, but the Discovery Channel came under fire after it announced it would not air the last episode, called "On Thin Ice", which deals specifically with climate change. A petition on Change.org garnered 75,000 signatures calling on the Discovery Channel to air the full series, before the network caved and announced it would do so.

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (March 05, 2013).

New York Times slashes environmental coverage.