Journalism & Media

July 31, 2009

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In These Hard Times, Enviro Stories Take Major Prizes, Honors

 

Wildfires. Toxic chemicals in everyday life. Lax federal regulation. Overseas dumping of U.S. waste. Coal ash.

Coverage of those environmental subjects by a variety of news outlets was honored recently in three major national journalism competitions – the 2009 Pulitzer Prizes, 2008 George Polk Awards and the 2008 Sigma Delta Chi Awards of the Society of Professional Journalists. The Pulitzer and SPJ winners were announced in April, the Polk winners in February.

*****

Book Shelf, Book 2 – Paving Paradise: Florida's Vanishing Wetlands and the Failure of No Net Loss

 

It began with a tip about a report from the NationalAcademy of Sciences titled "Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the CleanWater Act." A real page turner.

Craig Pittman, who had been covering environment issues for The St. Petersburg Times for five years, was blown away by the document's indictment of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. He figured it was time to cover the statewide picture, not just report one loss at a time as wetlands disappeared.

Book Shelf, Book 1 – Flotsametrics and the Floating World

 

In 1991, Curtis Ebbesmeyer was a successful middle-aged oceanographer who had studied offshore oil platform design in the North Sea, sewage dispersion in Puget Sound, and eddies in the North Atlantic. But he found his true calling when thousands of Nike shoes, which had spilled from a cargo vessel crossing the Pacific months earlier, started washing up on Northwest beaches. Fascinated with all kinds of "drifty things," Ebbesmeyer saw the shoes as a unique opportunity to study the oceans.

NYT Reporter's 'Misstep' Causes Furor Among 'Skeptics'

 

Veteran New York Times science writer Andy Revkin calls it "my worst misstep as a journalist in 26 years."

A vocal and prolific British climate contrarian is less charitable. "Deliberate misrepresentation," said Christopher Monckton in complaining that Revkin, in an April 24 front-page article, "offends grievously" the newspaper's journalism ethics guidelines.

Monckton asked Times Public Editor and Readers' Representative Clark Hoyt to conduct a "disciplinary enquiry into Revkin's conduct."

The Easy Way To Do Cool Stuff Offline, Mostly Free

 

On the Internet no one can hear you scream.

Which is a good thing, because for a lot of journalists, the everchanging landscape of Web technology is the continuing-ed equivalent of Whack-a-Mole. As soon as we learn something, it is immediately replaced by something else totally different. (Question: Which of the following is not a social media or microblogging service? A. Twitter B. InstaPost C. Ning)

Amid the Fear and Fretting, An Idea for Journalism's Future

 

Each week, I am party and witness to the loss of cumulative decades of environmental journalism experience shown the door as the pink-slipping of newspaper newsrooms continues seemingly without end.

Stop there. There is no reason. No one gains, to overstate the situation. It's the slow, incessant drip-drip death-by-a-thousand cuts that is sidelining countless years of environmental journalism experience and expertise.

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