New York Times’ climate coverage plummets

New York Times deskClimate coverage in The New York Times dropped dramatically last year, according to a recent analysis featured in Joanna Foster’s blog post on Climate Progress this week. But it wasn’t because there were fewer stories about climate to report on. It was because the The New York Times closed its environment desk, dismantled its Green Blog, and assigned the nine staff previously responsible for environmental coverage to other departments. All in all, this resulted in a decline of print articles prominently featuring climate change by about a third from 2012 to 2013. Front page coverage also dropped: The Times published nine front-page stories on climate in a six-month period in 2012, and just three over the same period in 2013.


Climate Coverage Drops At The New York Times After Paper Closed Its Environmental Desk

By Joanna M. Foster, Reporter, Climate Progress


2013 was a big year for climate news. In May, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide passed the 400 parts per million threshold for the first time in millions of years. In June, President Obama announced his Climate Action Plan, and in November, the monster typhoon, Haiyan slammed into the Philippines.

2013 was also the year that the New York Times decided to close its environment desk and conclude coverage of energy and environment issues on its Green Blog. The seven reporters and two editors dedicated to environment coverage were assigned elsewhere, and a dozen Green Blog contributors were bid farewell.

The decision was met with disbelief and consternation by many, although readers were promised that The Times’s environmental coverage would be as aggressive as ever, and that the decision was purely structural.
In the Columbia Journalism Review, Curtis Brainard wrote that “They’ve made a horrible decision that ensures the deterioration of The Times’s environmental coverage at a time when debates about climate change, energy, natural resources and sustainability have never been more important to public welfare.”
Now, almost a year later, Margaret Sullivan, public editor at the New York Times, has reviewed how environmental coverage has fared at The Times since the “structural” changes, and the news is not good.

Read more here.

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