With the world drowning in climate change related news—including 2012 as the hottest year on record and more extreme weather events and scientific studies than any single outlet could hope to cover—the New York Times has decided it's the perfect time to close its environment desk.
As Inside Climate News' Katherine Bagley reports:
The New York Times will close its environment desk in the next few weeks and assign its seven reporters and two editors to other departments. The positions of environment editor and deputy environment editor are being eliminated. No decision has been made about the fate of the Green Blog, which is edited from the environment desk.
Beth Parke, executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists, told Bagley that while solid environmental coverage doesn't necessarily require a dedicated team, the Times' decision is "worrying."
"Dedicated teams bring strength and consistency to the task of covering environment-related issues," she said. "It's always a huge loss to see them dismantled ... It's not necessarily a weakening to change organizational structure, but it does seem to be a bad sign. I will be watching closely what happens next."
Read Bagley's full coverage here.
Online reaction by many was swift, with the Guardian's environment editor John Vidal tweeting:
Dumb move NYT. Sad end to top team of writers insideclimatenews.org/news/20130111/…
— John Vidal (@john_vidal) January 11, 2013
And media critic and journalism professor Jay Rosen responded:
The New York Times closes its environmental desk but says that this is in no way means less coverage of climate change. bit.ly/VPyQdG
— Jay Rosen(@jayrosen_nyu) January 11, 2013
And independent journalist and blogger Marcy Wheeler said:
Shorter NYT: Environment stories no longer "fit to print." is.gd/pvUtJT Cause they have to be business stories, not enviro stories.
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) January 11, 2013