U.S. Science Reporters Becoming an Endangered Species

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The news for environmental journalism in the United States is grim and getting grimmer.

On Mar. 1, the New York Times announced it was discontinuing the Green Blog that tracked environmental and energy news. In January, the paper had dismantled its three-year-old environment pod.

This year, too, Johns Hopkins University retired its 30-year-old science writing programme, following in the footsteps of Columbia University which, in 2009, closed its earth and environmental science journalism programme because of a poor job market.

Like climate change, the demise of science reporting is a slowly unfolding tragedy, say many environmental journalists in the United States.

At a time when conversations should be revolving around climate change, energy, natural resources and sustainable development, space for environmental reporting and coverage in the United States seems to be shrinking.

Written By: Zofeen Ebrahim
continue to source article at ipsnews.net

10 COMMENTS

  1. I hear magazines and newspapers bewailing that all forms of serious reporting are dying. FOX and company feed people nonsense wrapped up as entertainment. That is what the people want. The real problem is capitalism. FOX’s techniques are the way to make the most money. So they prevail.

    We have laws against practising medicine without a licence. Perhaps that notion needs to be extended to improve the quality of information the public are exposed to.

    • In reply to #1 by Roedy:

      I hear magazines and newspapers bewailing that all forms of serious reporting are dying. FOX and company feed people nonsense wrapped up as entertainment. That is what the people want. The real problem is capitalism. FOX’s techniques are the way to make the most money. So they prevail.

      It’s not just FOX. All the news channels seem to have gone to “fluff” journalism. It’s like watching E TV all the time.

    • In reply to #2 by Reckless Monkey:

      This is why it is so important to keep funding Public Broadcasters like dear old Aunty in Australia (ABC). Some excellent science journalism funded here.

      here

      and

      here

      and

      here

      and great audio podcasts

      here This one is particularly good

      also good

      here

      and for the younger generation

      here

      Let’s hope that Tony-climate change is crap- Abbott doesn’t decide to cut funding to the ABC. He holds a special hatred for this channel.

      • In reply to #3 by Nitya:

        In reply to #2 by Reckless Monkey:
        Let’s hope that Tony-climate change is crap- Abbott doesn’t decide to cut funding to the ABC. He holds a special hatred for this channel.

        Agreed, he much prefers Murdoch’s brand of news (the oxymoronic kind). I’m frankly surprised he has been able to maintain the discipline he exhibited in the campaign of not really saying anything to avoid shooting himself in the foot. Actions unfortunately speak louder than words.

        • In reply to #4 by Reckless Monkey:

          In reply to #3 by Nitya:

          In reply to #2 by Reckless Monkey:
          Let’s hope that Tony-climate change is crap- Abbott doesn’t decide to cut funding to the ABC. He holds a special hatred for this channel.

          Agreed, he much prefers Murdoch’s brand of news (the oxymoronic kind). I’m frankly surprised he has…

          I think the LNP comedy team, Abbott & Costello are hoping to sell off the ABC, possibly to Murdoch press. They’ve already disbanded the Climate Commission and are not going to appoint a Minister for Science, the first time since 1931 that Australia hasn’t had one.

  2. Ah well! The Chinese will continue to market green technologies to the world, while the US and Canada bog down in tar-sands.

    http://www.zdnet.com/news/china-leads-world-in-green-tech/6230486

    China’s green tech industry raked in $63.9 billion last year, making the Asian giant the world’s leading green IT producer in terms of revenue, according to a study released Monday.

    The study, commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), also revealed that the China ranked second only to Denmark in terms how much the green technology sector contributes to a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). This market segment contributed 1.4 percent of China’s GDP, compared with Denmark’s 3.1 percent where the green tech industry generated revenues totaling 6.5 billion euros $11.7 billion, noted the study.

    WWF economist Donald Pols notes that green IT growth in the U.S. has been substantial, at 28 percent per year, since 2008 but cannot compared with China where climate change is not an ideological issue but a fact of life. **He noted that the U.S. green tech market generated revenues worth $56.7 billion and was ranked 17th worldwide in terms of the market’s contribution, at just 0.3 percent, to the country’s GDP. **

  3. There are also myths about the “benefits” of the private sector in the US.

    http://www.commodities-now.com/reports/environmental-markets/2236-china-set-to-overtake-the-us-in-green-technology-research.html

    China Set to Overtake the US in Green Technology Research

    For the last several months, several observers including ourselves have noted that whatever is going on at the “lower-value-added” end of the manufacturing and technology scale the real challenge China poses to the US lies not in the area of currency valuations, but in the “higher-value-added” regions of so-called “green” or “clean” technologies.

    The general argument here, as always, relates back to the fundamentally different role of the state in the economy in each of the two countries.

    In the US, the general consensus, shared by both Democrats and Republicans alike, is that the government should just get out of the way and let the private sector make its own path to whatever brave new world its ingenuity is able to bring forth, letting venture capital take the lead in funding the technological innovation that creates economic growth.

    Proponents of this view point to the PC / MicroSoft revolution of the 1980s and the Internet revolution of the 1990s as perfect examples of this approach.

    A view promoted by the Murdoch muppet-media!

    Unfortunately, this was also the attitude that allowed the “ingenuity” of the financial sector to run amok in general, and particularly in the area of derivatives – again, famously termed by St Warren of Buffett, “economic weapons of mass destruction” – creating the global economic mess in which certainly the developed world, ie the US and Europe, find themselves today.

    And it also leaves out the key fact that the Internet which most Americans think was invented by the private sector was, in fact, an initiative funded for decades by a research wing of the US government, DARPA: the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

    In China, of course, the attitude is just the opposite: the government insists on taking an active role in all major areas of economic activity, notably banking and finance, where it was able to pull off the world’s most successful response to the US-centered Black September 2008 global crisis,

  4. You have to have some balance in a country where a Fox news reporter can stand outside on a snowy day ( in Winter) and say “Global warming what global warming?”
    Tragically in the UK now that several Tory / UKIP MPs are openly anti man made global warming theory I have detected a shift in their stance to reporting on the subject. It is now reported as a political item, “these scientists say ; whereas this former TV natural history presenter says ..” in attempt to demonstrate some misplaced impartiality and balance.

    I find this worrying because it confirms that Journalists cannot distinguish between rhetoric and scientific argument; something which very few of them have a specialisation in to start with.

    Despite the ICC coming down even more certain in favour of man made global warming with the last report ( up by 5 % ) it looks like the battle for hearts and minds is being slowly lost.

    UKIP is now possibly the third biggest political party in the UK. Their comments on global warming have included the following quotes from last years Keeping The Lights On policy document.

    “More and more scientists are challenging the conventional wisdom on Global Warming. The ground-breaking 2004 Channel Four film “The Great Global Warming Swindle” set out the scientific case against climate alarmism, with interviews with top scientists in the field.”
    “We do not however regard CO2 as a pollutant. It is a natural trace gas in the atmosphere which is essential to plant growth and life on earth.”

  5. CNN may have gotten the ball rolling, a few years back, when they booted the ‘science and technology’ segments. Wonderful Miles O’Brien reported these with passion and skill. So now, he’s moved on (out of the publics eye, unfortunately), but we are up to date on Kimye!

    There are at least two meteorologists (local and national) who act goofy on air, but are free to talk openly / seriously about CC elsewhere. Must be frustrating, forced to report about poodle parades gone wild, and so forth on network tv.

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