NY Times eliminates environmental news desk in nod to ‘shifting’ reporting landscape

Kramon said that “climate change is one of the few subjects so important that we need to be oblivious to cycles and just cover it as hard as we can all the time.”

The decision to close the desk was met with “shock and anger” on Twitter and Facebook, according to Andrew Revkin of the NY Times’ Dot Earth Blog.

“[W]ithout a designated staff your editor would have to rely completely on borrowing reporters from other desks, and editors on those desks would get no credit from management for any environmental stories their borrowed reporters produce,” Dan Fagin, journalism teacher at New York University, wrote on Revkin’s Facebook wall.

Beth Parke, executive director of the Society of Environmental Journalists, also expressed concerns about the Times’ decision and called the it “worrying.”

“Dedicated teams bring strength and consistency to the task of covering environment-related issues,” she told InsideClimate. “It’s always a huge loss to see them dismantled … It’s not necessarily a weakening to change organizational structure, but it does seem to be a bad sign. I will be watching closely what happens next.”

Revkin argues that the Times’ environmental coverage will continue to break new ground.

“The Times excelled at environmental coverage before there was an environment pod, continued during that phase, and, I predict, will do so going forward, within the financial constraints facing all journalism,” writes Revkin. “I know they recognize the importance of global warming, the erosion of the world’s biological riches, the impacts of pollution on people and ecosystems.”

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