Success stories: supporting mainstream media coverage of environmental concerns

Quality journalism fuels dialogue between government, NGOs, communities, and lobbying groups as well as concerned citizens in an effort to find solutions to the environmental challenges we face now and in the years ahead. The process of educating these groups about the importance of conserving natural resources plays a major role in promoting advocacy and facilitating cooperation. However, the nuanced field of long-form environmental journalism is on the decline.

In April 2013 a story in the Columbia Journalism Review described a “meltdown” in long-form reporting at major U.S. newspapers. The piece cited an 86 percent drop at the Los Angeles Times, a 50 percent decline at the Washington Post, a 35 percent dip at the Wall Street Journal, and a 25 percent fall at the New York Times. This deterioration has been accompanied by waning interest in environmental issues in the United States as measured by Google Trends, including a gradual but steady decline in search traffic for water management-and pollution-related keywords. The combination is especially troubling for environmental journalism, which requires nuanced reporting. Boiling down an inevitably complex environmental story to a simple black-and-white issue risks introducing inaccuracies that provide fuel for environmental naysayers and critics.

Mongabay.org was founded, in part, to facilitate detailed reporting on key issues affecting the environment and the communities that depend on it. Our Special Reporting Initiatives (SRI) and Mongabay Reporting Network (MRN) programs enable professional journalists to conduct in-depth reporting on a specific issue over a three-month period. Some of the resulting articles are published on Mongabay under a Creative Commons license that allows for, and encourages, re-publishing elsewhere. Others are published in external media outlets, reaching as wide an audience as possible.

Since the launch of these programs, stories supported by Mongabay have been published in dozens of publications, include Environmental Health Perspectives, The New York Times, The Guardian, Yale e360, Scientific American, BBC, SmartPlanet, Ensia, Deutsche Welle, AnimalPlanet, Slate, Tempo Magazine, Publica, TakePart, , The Jakarta Post, and Lucky Peach, among others. Additionally Mongabay stories have been disseminated via our syndication partners, including Yahoo News, The Guardian, BusinessInsider, Eco-Business, The Epoch Times, and Environmental News Network.

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Author: Mongabay.org

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