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Weekend Reader, Sunday April 1

Some of the top outlets and reporters keeping the environmental beat vibrant

Last weekend, I showcased some of the good news that's out there amidst the dreary environmental news.

This weekend, here are some of the most productive and impactful reporters, news sites, newspapers and broadcasters on the beat.


This is a partial list. Please send suggestions for others to add here (or protests for the ones I've highlighted) to feedback@ehn.org. Rather than links, we've provided the Twitter handles for the reporters and news organizations.

Institutional memory: There's a strong argument to be made that longevity is more important on this beat than in most. Many newspapers have shuttered their science and environment beats, but there are some stellar exceptions: Mark Schleifstein, who's shared three Pulitzer Prizes at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and NOLA.com (@mschleifstein).

Ken Ward, Jr. has earned many admirers and quite a few enemies covering the West Virginia coal industry at the Charleston Gazette-Mail (@kenwardjr). Jim Bruggers writes and blogs for the Louisville Courier-Journal (@jbruggers).

Big Newsrooms that are paying attention: The New York Times sent mixed messages a few years ago by rearranging its climate and environment coverage, but they've brought in talented people over the past several years. So has the Washington Post, which did the unheard-of-move in promoting an environment reporter, Juliet Eilperin (@eilperin), to the coveted White House beat.

For about a decade, the Associated Press has been opportunistic about filling the void at its member newspapers by providing extensive science and environment coverage. Seth Borenstein ( @Borenbears) is a prolific science writer who covers climate from Washington DC, and takes constant guff from climate deniers. (But the AP refrains from using the word "deniers.")

Big Newsrooms that aren't paying attention: TV news is still delinquent in its climate/environment coverage. Even with 2017's relentlessly brutal weather and early 2018's four Nor'easters, there's scant mention of the role of climate change. In fairness, they've been all over the more frequent and intense outbreaks of Stormy Daniels.

On the radio side, @NPR does a consistent job, and I must give a full-disclosure plug to my colleagues at @LivingOnEarth, a nationally syndicated show on Public Radio International since 1991.

Regional voices like the Pittsburgh-based The @AlleghenyFront also provide a great service.

Nonprofits and entrepreneurs fill the gap: Sort of. There's no pretending that nonprofits, including ours, have the general-audience reach of an ABC News or USA Today. But there's incredible work being done by starving journalists at dozens of national and local outlets.

I like to think of High Country News as the New Yorker for people who live above 7,000 feet (@highcountrynews). Their thorough coverage of Western issues and strong writing and reporting ought to be winning awards.

Inside Climate News (@Insideclimate) turns out consistent awards-grade work.

@Undarkmag provides great explanatory and investigative science journalism.

@HakaiMagazine writes insightful stories with a focus on oceans and coastlines.

Ensia (@EnsiaMedia) features solutions-based stories to counter the general gloom that's inherent in the environment beat. @CivilEats and the Food and Environment Reporting Network (@FERNnews) cover the nexus between our diets, our health, and the environment.

A new entry is The Revelator, (@Revelator_News) published by the Center for Biological Diversity. @TheIntercept has contributed some blockbuster investigative pieces, notably from Sharon Lerner.

Regional efforts in the Pacific Northwest (Investigate West, @invw), Hawaii (@civilbeat), the Midwest (@MWEnergyNews), and Texas (@TexasObserver) take over when "traditional" news organizations have dropped the ball due to staff cuts. A few smaller daily newspapers have made major commitments to the beat, notably the Desert Sun of Palm Springs, CA. Ian James (@TDSIanJames) has led extensive coverage of Western water issues.

Environmental journalism still suffers from a lack of diversity. Check out this item from our friends at @nexusmedianews.

While you're taking all this in and adding to your Twitter follows, follow us too: @envirhealthnews, @thedailyclimate, Douglas Fischer (@cptnclmt), @BrianBienkowski, Kristina Marusic (@KristinaSaurusR), and yours truly (@pdykstra).

Top Weekend News

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's sweetheart deal for a Capitol Hill condo rental has him in hot water. (Washington Post) Here's additional info from CBS News.

Great long read from the Financial Times: How Antarctica's fate will affect everyone.

A snapshot of extreme drought in the Southwest, from the Albuquerque Journal.

Interesting take from Australia via The Guardian: Should nature have legal rights?

New York Times on homeowners in a Houston suburb that was intentionally flooded to protect downtown after Hurricane Harvey.


Obligatory April Fools Item (Don't Say You Weren't Warned)

FLASHBACK: Later this month, it's the 43rd anniversary of Newsweek's infamous "global cooling" story, still used by climate deniers to claim uncertainty in climate science. Doug Struck penned this fond reminiscence for Daily Climate a few years ago.

NOT APRIL FOOLS, NOR IS IT THE ONION: An Iowa man won a defamation lawsuit brought by a pet food manufacturer in his hometown. The defendant ran a website complaining about how badly his town smelled. (AP)

Opinions and Editorials

Bill McKibben on being shut out of Canada's most influential newspaper over a pipeline controversy. (National Observer, Canada)

In a harsh editorial, the Los Angeles Times says it's time for EPA's Scott Pruitt to go.

And here's one on the same topic from the New York Times.

Book Reviews: Three authors look at the significance of water in a warming, melting world.

Beyond the Headlines: Peter Dykstra and host Steve Curwood discuss how bees seem to combat a damaging pesticide, the importance of coastal ecosystems in carbon sequestration and a Clinton-era Forest plan that nearly everyone grumbled about.

This Week in Trump

Apparently, he's not April-fooling: EPA Boss Scott Pruitt says his proposed rollback of vehicle fuel efficiency standards will actually help the environment.

Automakers lobbied the Trump Administration to roll back the fuel efficiency rules; they may get more than they asked for.

Conservation group sues Trump Administration over protection of California rivers.

Amid the brutal rollbacks in environmental regulation, Living on Earth found some green initiatives in the new congressional spending bill.

Nutrient runoff starves corals in the Florida Keys

Rising ocean temperatures, a consequence of climate change, are known for bleaching and killing corals. But a study, published today in Marine Biology, reveals another overlooked culprit: excess nitrogen.

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