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The Sciences

Is Environmental Journalism Trending Contrarian?

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorMarch 11, 2011 1:40 AM


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Over at Ecological Sociology, a supposition is put forth that

the politicization of environmental matters has taken a new twist. Call it "everything good is bad for you reporting." This is reporting that takes conventional wisdom about environmental matters -- energy efficiency is good, recycling is good -- and turns it on its head by drawing attention to unexpected and unintended consequences.

The post then offers two recent articles (one by John Tierney who is famous for trying to turn convention on its head) that are taken to be representative of a larger trend:

my sense is that the appearance of multiple articles of this type at this time more likely indicates a change in attitudes and, in particular, a shift in the type of findings that science journalists attend to.

Hunches based on anecdotal evidence don't strike me as particularly strong ground for an academic to stand on. Also, what kind of journalism are we talking about? Because a quick glance at the daily beat reporting on environmental issues suggests to me that convention still rules the day. Also, it's worth noting that in the digital age there are many, many more outlets for science and environmental stories than a decade ago. So it stands to reason that there's going be more than just the usual fare published randomly at some of these venues.

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