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Newspapers Slash Environmental Coverage Just as It's Most Needed

2 min. read

At a time when energy and environmental issues are more important than ever, stories like this are truly pitiful.

The news last week that the New York Times is dismantling its environment desk and reassigning the reporters throughout the newsroom provoked an outpouring of reaction, much of it suggesting that now isn't the time to take risks that could diminish the coverage of climate change.

[...]

Once the Times' environmental desk is dismantled, the nation's top five newspapers by readership—the Times, the Los Angeles TimesThe Washington PostUSA Today and the Wall Street Journal—will have about a dozen reporters and a handful of editors among them whose primary responsibility is to cover the environment. The New York Times has yet to reassign its reporters so a precise tally is not possible.

The Los Angeles Times will be the only one among the five to have a designated environment desk...

It's not just newspapers, unfortunately. According to a Media Matters analysis, "news coverage of climate change on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX remained low in 2012 despite record temperatures and a series of extreme weather events in the U.S. When the Sunday shows did discuss climate change, scientists were shut out of the debate while Republican politicians were given a platform to question the science." Coverage of energy issues in the media is similarly inadequate to the importance of this topic, and the size and scope of the energy industry. Clearly, this situation needs to change if we're going to have a fully informed discussion of energy policy in this country. So far, sad to say, we appear to be moving in the opposite direction.