A Look Back at Environment Stories - News Hunt Results
Last week, the NewsTrust community searched for good journalism on the Environment, in partnership with Scientific American magazine and the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno.
In celebration of Earth Day, here are some of the highlights of our news hunt:
Top Rated Stories
In just a week, our search yielded 79 new submissions on this topic, from a variety of mainstream and independent sources. Here are the top rated stories for this week's news hunt:
- Yellow River - National Geographic
- Scheduling Wind Power - MIT Technology Review
- Are Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs Dangerous? - Scientific American
- Revisiting the global warming-hurricane link - Christian Science Monitor
- The Monitor 10: The All-Green, Eco-Fabulous Episode - Scientific American
- States of Nature - New Republic
- Finger on the spot - Economist
- Arctic Meltdown - Foreign Affairs
- Big oil to big wind - The Guardian
- Our Favorite Planet - New York Times
To see our current list of top rated stories, check our Environment topic page (click on the 'Top Rated' tab), which is continuously updated with new reviews.
Water Pollution in China
Covering the environment well is a tough task for a journalist. Environmental issues effect nearly all aspects of human life, so presenting a comprehensive look at even a narrow issue issue can be daunting. The highest rated story of the week, "Yellow River" succeeds in being both comprehensive and engaging. Writing for National Geographic, Brook Larmer brings the reader along as she explores of the myriad factors that have made China's Yellow River a veritable disaster. She touches on issues of geography, global warming, rampant industrial pollution, as well as the power and politics of this massive country. As Allen Warren, a graduate student at the Reynolds School of Journalism, put it "She did a wonderful job of putting the story in context and interviewing the real people that this story impacts, a necessary outcome because Chinese officials are loathe to comment on these topics. The language and imagery paint a scene that the reader can visualize."
The Politics and Economics of Environmental Regulation
Governments around the world struggle with balancing the need for environmental regulations that often are at odds with the interests of business. In the New Republic, writer Jeffrey Rosen looks at how conservatives in America have tried to moderate regulation by both the EPA and state governments, playing both sides of the states' rights debate. Rosen contends that the inconsistent strategy may come back to haunt conservatives once Bush is out of office.
The trading of carbon offsets, an issue all three remaining Presidential candidates support, is already in effect in the European Union. Salon.com writer Andrew Leonard reflects on how to read the response of this nascent carbon credit market to the precipitous rise in oil and gas prices. UNR journalism graduate student Teri Vance found Leonard's blog post a good start, but unsatisfying. "There were some good ideas presented in this blog," Vance writes, "but they weren't explained nor fleshed out very well. I was left wanting greater context, and some idea of how this could play out in the U.S.".
Stories from Scientific American
Our media partner on this "news hunt" was Scientific American magazine. Stories from SciAm receive consistent high reviews on NewsTrust, with the publication ranking as one of the most trusted by our reviewers. Last week we featured several Scientific American stories on the site.
Belying its often scholarly reputation, Scientific American is creating content online that's more casual and accessible for a younger audience. Their Monitor video program is case-in-point. Last week's episode focused on the Environment, used slick graphics to provide a roundup of environmental technology stories in the news. It's a brief video, and definitely worth watching.
Tim Mitchell, a UNR journalism student, found SciAm's look at the dangers of compact fluorescent light bulbs thought provoking. As he explains, "these light bulbs have a danger that I was not aware of. I know they save a lot of energy but this story makes me think that we are just solving one problem with another one. Between the mercury threat to a child's health and the problem with disposing of them properly I think it is evident that there is a real need for more research on an alternative light source."
Though not featured last week, I would also personally recommend a piece entitled "A Solar Grand Plan". This article considers a scenario where "a massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050."
That was just a sampling of the stories our reviewers found on the Environment. For more great journalism, be sure to check out the Environment topic page on NewsTrust.
Thanks to Our Partners!
We would like to thank our partners for their outstanding contributions to this week's news hunt on the Environment. From Scientific American, David Biello, Christopher Mims, Christie Nicholson and Ivan Oransky worked to highlight the collaboration to SciAm readers, many of whom checked out NewsTrust and signed on as members. We are honored to work with the folks at SciAm. Thanks!
A big round of applause also goes out to the students at the Reynolds School of Journalism. In particular, Johanna Huybers and Kayla Dubchansky, who guest-blogged about the collaboration. As a young journalist, Kayla found NewsTrust serves as a pulse on what media consumers consider good journalism. Johanna explained how the students are taking the results of the Environment news hunt and applying them to a project aimed at greening the city of Nevada. Thanks to Professor Donica Mensing and David Rye for organizing the collaboration, to her UNR colleagues Edward Lenert, Larry Dailey, Rosemary McCarthy and Jerry Ceppos -- as well as to Johanna, Kayla and the other UNR students who reviewed stories on NewsTrust.
Hope to you see you all back on the site soon -- be sure to join our upcoming news hunts!