By now, you've no doubt heard several dozen times over that the New York Times is scrapping its environmental desk. But rather than making its environmental reporters redundant, the Grey Lady has reassigned them to sit scattered among reporters on other beats.
On the surface, this may seem a terrible idea born of the need to cut costs.
However, Scientific American blog editor Bora Zivkovic takes a slightly different tack.
He thinks this may actually be the future of environmental reporting. Rather than ghetto-ising science and environment stories, mainstreaming them may actually be a step in the right direction.
This way, he argues, the Times will now have an environmental horizontal, with environmental angles permeating stories on all kinds of topics, as environmental reporters talk to and influence their new office neighbors
"A dedicated Environment section is a pull method. It pulls in readers who are already interested in the topic. Others never see it. And being online doesn’t change a thing – it works the same way as on paper, in its own ghetto, isolated from the stuff people actually read.
"The ‘push’ method inserts science/health/environment stories everywhere, in all sections of the paper, linked from all the pages of the website. It includes science/health/environment angles into many other stories. People interested in politics, economics, education, art, culture, comic strips, whatever, get a steady diet of relevant information mixed into their breakfast. They can’t avoid it any more. It is pushed onto them without their explicit request."
Have a read of his blog post in full and decide for yourself.
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