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To: National Public Radio (npr.org)
Demand NPR Restore Its Climate Reporting Team
As tax-paying citizens of the USA, whose government supplies 4.6% of NPR’s income (and 39% from individual contributors), we insist that you restore your climate reporting team — or rather, actually expand it. At this critical juncture, with the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris coming up where our leaders need to act on climate change, our public needs more day-to-day, accessible, and thorough coverage. NPR’s reasoning that it’s okay to gut the climate reporting team "because so many other staffers cover the subject, along with their other beats," ignores the fact that many Americans are uninformed about an issue that requires long-term planning and public support for long-term adaptation strategies as noted in most climate plans and studies.
Why is this important?
Here is an astonishing remark by a newly hired climate reporter for the New York Times: “Few topics fuel as much reader attention as climate change.” (Steering the Climate Change Coverage, October 27, 2014 New York Times) It’s astonishing given that the New York Time gutted its climate reporters a while ago and is now rehiring. But it’s also astonishing because National Public Radio has just gone ahead and gutted their climate reporter staff.
From an October 24, 2014 article at Climate Progress, "NPR Guts Its Environment And Climate Reporting Team, Becomes ‘Part Of The Problem'":
NPR has gutted its staff dedicated to covering environmental and climate issues. Given the nation’s and world’s renewed focus on the threat posed by unrestricted carbon pollution, this baffling move is already receiving widespread criticism from scientists and media watchers. It is “a sad commentary on the current state of our media,” as one top climatologist told me. Katherine Bagley broke the story for InsideClimate News. She reports that earlier in 2014, NPR “had three full-time reporters and one editor dedicated” to cover environmental and climate issues within NPR’s science desk. Now, shockingly, “One remains — and he is covering it only part-time."
Read the full article here: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/24/3584246/npr-guts-climate-team/
The reasoning behind this unfortunate shift? Anne Gudenkauf, senior supervising editor of NPR’s science desk, says she doesn't "feel like [the environment] necessarily requires dedicated reporters" because so many other staffers cover the subject, along with their other beats. This response by our public radio would make sense if our collective understanding and acceptance of climate change had already reached such a level that climate change, the mother of all problems, were already understood and assumed by the public to be, indeed, the mother of all problems.
For more information, go to my essay: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141101180917-87992245-demand-npr-restore-its-climate-reporting-team