Sunday, January 31, 2010

John Daley: “Why the Decline and Rebirth of Environmental Journalism Matters”

In Chasidy Hobbs conference to the University of West Florida’s environmental reporting class, she said that environmental reporters were scarce in the journalism community. According to John Daley’s article, “Why the Decline and Rebirth of Environmental Journalism Matters,” this statement is also made true.

In short, the article explains how environmental journalism has declined as well as the return it may take in the near future because of media convergence.

In the article, Camille Feanny, former CNN producer, expressed how the public needs science and environmental news to make informed and intelligent decisions.

The article also said that journalism is becoming another dead zone. “Almost 50,000 journalism jobs across the U.S. have been lost in the past two years.” Journalists may be losing jobs at almost three times the rate of other workers.

Feanny also said she blames recent wars on the decline of environmental journalism. Politicians and news corporations have prioritized war over the environment. In the current times we live in, issues pertaining to the war and economy seem to topple over environmental issues.

Daley’s article also claims that human interest stories such as the Tiger Woods scandal and the “Balloon Boy” incident are more appealing to the public than stories about climate change or pollution.

In a December 2009 Washington Post-ABC News poll, it is revealed that the public is turned off from what scientists and politicians have to say about the environment.

Without environmental journalists, the general public lacks specific gatekeepers that will inform them of environmental trends and issues.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Society of Environmental Journalists

The Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Website is a useful tool for budding journalists who are interested in pursuing a career in environmental reporting.

The SEJ homepage has the format of an online newspaper. The page contains such things as environmental headlines and publications from the SEJ.

The most helpful link on the Website is probably the Tip Sheet, located under the SEJ Publications tab. The purpose of the Tip Sheet is to provide biweekly news used to notify journalists. This is ideal for a reporter searching for a specific environmental beat. Issues are posted here one day before publication.

Reporters may want to also have a look at the library tab, where blogs and websites pertaining to environmental issues can be found. Reporters can choose to read SEJ Member’s blogs as well as non-member blogs.

Amateur reporters can also find the Reporting Tools link under the library tab. Though still a work in progress, this link provides helpful resources for specific issues such as wildfires, hurricanes and climate change.

Other useful links that can be found in the SEJ are a detailed climate change guide and a calendar with future events, press conferences and workshops.

The SEJ also hosts several programs and contests for environmental journalists. Journalists may also become a member of the SEJ if they wish.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Listening to Earth" Chapter 1

Upon reading Chapter 1 of “Listening to Earth,” one can’t help but admire the selected authors for the deep respect they have for the environment.

In John Muir’s “The American Forests,” the American forests are described as beautiful, ancient structures. Muir makes a statement about the destruction of these forests by the hand of man.

Mary Austin’s work, “My Neighbor’s Field,” captures the essence of nature through vast imagery. Her writing can be described as a combination of the physical and spiritual.

Aldo Leopold’s “The Land Ethic” takes a scientific approach to the environment and the relationship between man and nature.

Margaret L. Knox’s “The World According to Cushman” tells the story of a property rights-lobbyist and his obsession with land ownership.

“Caring for the Woods” by Barry Lopez explains the importance of preserving the land as the world keeps growing.

All authors in this chapter have one thing in common: They believe that the green land we live on is extremely valuable. Nature has a story to tell, it can be seen in the branches of trees, the aging mountains and vast wildlife. By depleting nature we are also erasing its history.

What if the authors of these passages took a trip to Pensacola? Would they admire what they saw or look in disappointment? We have coal factories, contaminated water, new developments, etc.

They would most likely say that Pensacola is lacking in green d├ęcor.

I’m not a huge environmental buff myself, but I know when a place is lacking in land beautification. Living in North Yorkshire, England for three years where green is abundant and then moving here, you can easily spot these differences.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere: Response to the Chasidy Hobbs speech

Every morning I wake up and stick my head under the bathroom faucet for some water. Just like every other normal human being, I fail to think about what is actually IN the water.

Now that I am aware of the several pollutants in our water I always have to hold myself back in the mornings.

Both the EWG and the ECUA are both at fault for instilling fear in the citizens of Pensacola.  Now everybody is running around, arms flapping in the air, thinking they will get cancer.

What is most apalling to me that Mrs. Hobbs mentioned are the EPA's outdated chemical regulations. After 30 years I would think it wise to update these regulations since new chemicals are bound to be present. 

She also mentioned the fact that Pensacola won the best tasting water for 3 years. It kind of makes you wonder even more what's in this water of ours...

While Chasidy did a superb job supporting the fact that we are indeed safe, I still can't help but think that we can have better water than the stuff we have now. Less pollutants at least, please.

Chasidy Hobbs on Pensacola's Drinking Water

Emerald Coastkeeper (ECK) Chasidy Hobbs visited the University of West Florida’s Environmental Reporting class on Wednesday, January 13 to speak about recent events concerning Pensacola’s drinking water.

A study presented by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) claims that Pensacola Florida has the lowest-rated water utilities out of a list of 100 cities in the United States. Since the release of these results in December, the Emerald Coast Utility Authority (ECUA) has been questioned for its water quality.

“Let’s forget the EWG ranked us 100 and try and understand the situation,” said Hobbs.

Hobbs is the new head chair of ECK, an organization branched from the Waterkeeper Alliance that works to protect the waters of the area. The Waterkeeper alliance was started by John F. Kennedy Jr. after the Hudson Bay caught fire.

Hobbs said that the reports coming from the EWG were faulty, and various questions should be asked in relation to these results.

One of the concerns Hobbs said she had concerning the EWG are their standards for water. According to the ECUA, Pensacola has won the best tasting water for 3 years and has not been in violation of water regulations from 2004-2008. The EWG based their results on chemicals detected since 2004, which conflict with ECUA results from 2004-2008.

"What are the EWG's standards?"

Hobbs also said that over 60,000 chemicals are used in the USA, while less than 100 are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has not changed their regulations for chemicals since the ‘80s.

The ECUA contains 35 harmful chemicals, all of which are not required to be regulated.

Hobbs also questioned the credibility of the EWG. She said they were a consumer advocacy group stationed in Washington, D.C., and have done small studies relating to cell phones, sunscreen and skincare products. In this current study, the EWG did not do the actual testing of the water themselves.

Hobbs said she has been working to get groups such as the ECUA and EWG together for a meeting concerning this matter.

She said that the next big project she would like to tackle after this matter is the offshore drilling of the panhandle area.

Monday, January 11, 2010

North Yorkshire, UK