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.
Without knowing the inside story, it’s hard to speculate why the NYTimes is closing its environment desk. The Times said it was not a budgetary issue but a reflection of the interdisciplinary landscape of news reporting. If this is indeed the case, then I agree with the change. I think ecology should not be a special branch of any discipline, but should be an integrated element. On the other hand, it’s important to have experts who are focused on particular issues in order to promote environmental stories. I know from working in a newsroom that stories are often generated by reporters, and if you have people on the environment beat, it may be that there is better chance of their articles getting attention.
Environment coverage at the NYTimes has gotten better, so I hope this won’t mean a regression. That would be unfortunate at this critical moment in history.
See on insideclimatenews.org