David B. Sachsman University of Tennessee at Chattanooga James Simon Fairfield University JoAnn Myer Valenti Independent S...
Methodology <ul><li>Census approach: calls to every daily newspaper and TV station by region; use of various lists of repo...
Methodology  II <ul><li>New England, 55 of 55 reporters interviewed in 2000 (100% response rate)  </li></ul><ul><li>Mounta...
Key Research Questions: <ul><li>Where are the U.S. environment reporters? </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the U.S. environment r...
Key Research Questions: <ul><li>3. How do U.S. environment reporters compare to U.S. journalists in general in terms of:  ...
1. Where are the U.S. environment reporters?
Environment Reporters,  Daily Newspapers  New England (2000)   Mtn. West (2001)   Pacific West(2002, 04-05)   South (2002-...
Environment Reporters,  Daily Newspapers II  Mid Atlantic (2003-04) Mid Central (2004-05) West Central (2004-05)   169 new...
Environment Reporters,  Television New England (2000 )  Mountain West (2001)   Pac West (2002, 04-05)   South (2002-2003) ...
Environment Reporters,  Television II Mid Atlantic (2003-04 ) Mid Central (2004-05)   West Central(2004-05)   89 stations ...
2. Who are the environment  reporters?
Job Titles of Environment Reporters 100.0% 1.3% 0.0% 49.0% 0.0% 1.3% 8.6% 39.7% South  (2002-03) 100.0% 3.6% 10.9% 54.5% 3...
Job Titles of Environment Reporters II 100.0% 27.1% 0.0% 42.4% 1.2% 1.2% 3.5% 24.7% West Central (2004-05) 100.0% 2.0% 5.9...
Percentage of time spent on environment stories 44.2% 55.0% 50.0% 37.9% Mean 91 30.7% 31.9% 37.4% Mountain West  (2001) 55...
Percentage of time spent on environment stories II 43.0% 33.0% 30.2% 47.4% Mean 101 14.9% 15.8% 69.3% Mid Central  (2004-0...
3. How do  environment reporters  compare to U.S. journalists  in general?
Personal Characteristics
<ul><li>Age     Environment Reporters   U.S. Journalists </li></ul><ul><li>  (2000-05)   (2002)* </li></ul><ul><li>18-24  ...
Education     Environment    Reporters   U.S. Journalists Education  (2000-05)   (2002) H.S. or less  0.6%  1.8% Some coll...
Education II <ul><li>23.3% of environment reporters who graduated from college (and answered the question) majored in one ...
Religion <ul><li>Environment reporters more likely to be Protestant, and U.S. journalists had higher percentages of Cathol...
Ethnicity & Gender <ul><li>Both groups were overwhelmingly white, but the percentage of white environment reporters was hi...
Political Affiliation <ul><li>Despite the stereotype, the percentage of Democrat environment reporters (32.6%) was a bit l...
Income <ul><li>Given average experience of environment reporters, average salary was low </li></ul><ul><li>47.8% earned le...
Summary <ul><li>The older workforce employed in journalism by 2002 may have reduced the greater age and experience level o...
Job Characteristics Autonomy in the Newsroom
Freedom in Selecting Stories <ul><li>Both groups of journalists were asked whether, “they had almost complete freedom in s...
News Aspects Emphasized <ul><li>When asked if, “they have almost complete freedom in deciding which aspects of a news stor...
Media Usage Patterns, Magazines <ul><li>Top 4 magazines very similar  </li></ul><ul><li>Environment (2000-05) U.S (2002) <...
Media Usage Patterns, Newspapers <ul><li>Top four newspapers were the same, reflecting the national orientation of all fou...
Media Usage Patterns, Television <ul><li>Both groups more likely to watch cable TV news. </li></ul><ul><li>50.9% or enviro...
Job Satisfaction of Environment Reporters (2000-05) and U.S. Journalists (2002) 1.7% 2.2% Very Dissatisfied 14.4% 12.6% So...
Job Satisfaction by Job Characteristics <ul><li>Television environment reporters more satisfied than newspaper </li></ul><...
How Do They Do Their Jobs:  Story Framing <ul><li>The study asked reporters how often they used each of nine story angles ...
Framing an Environment Story: New England (2000) <ul><li>Combined % saying they use a story angle or frame  </li></ul><ul>...
How Do They Do Their Jobs:  Sourcing <ul><li>Reporters were asked about their use of 29 specific sources: </li></ul><ul><l...
Summary: Most used sources 3. State Dept. of Environmental Quality 2. Local activist citizens 1. Local environment Groups ...
Environment sources vs.  business sources,  New Eng. (2000) <ul><li>Combined % saying they use a source </li></ul><ul><li>...
How Do They Do Their Jobs:  Type of sources <ul><li>% saying they “always” or “often” talk to:   </li></ul><ul><li>New  Mt...
Value of sources <ul><li>% saying source has “very high” or “fairly high” value </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>  New   ...
How Do They Do Their Jobs:  Barriers to reporting <ul><li>Environment reporters presented with 17 potential barriers to th...
% of NE reporters saying factor was “always” or “often” a barrier <ul><li>Time constraints  42.6% </li></ul><ul><li>Financ...
How Do They Do Their Jobs:  Fairness to business, enviro. groups <ul><li>Reporters asked in separate questions whether the...
Q: “Environmental journalists need to be fair to  sources such as corporations . Do you…   49 57 91 54 N 10% 100% 100% 100...
Q: “Environmental journalists need to be fair to  sources such as environmental activist groups.  Do you…   150 57 91 54 N...
Perceived fairness in reporting <ul><li>Do environment reporters see their  </li></ul><ul><li>peers as being too green  </...
Q: “Environmental journalists tend to be too “green” – meaning slanted in favor of environmentalism. Do you…” 133 47 71 43...
Q: “Environmental journalists tend to be too “brown” – meaning slanted in favor of business and industry. Do you…” 134 46 ...
How do they do their jobs: Objectivity, advocacy, civic j <ul><li>Almost all the reporters agreed that environmental journ...
OK to be advocate? <ul><li>Slightly more than one-third of the respondents agreed that environmental journalists sometimes...
Summary <ul><li>Daily newspapers far more likely to have environment reporters than television </li></ul><ul><li>Newspaper...
Summary, II <ul><li>We expected environment reporters to be older and more experienced than U.S. journalists in general.  ...
Summary, III <ul><li>More similarities than differences in religion, importance of religion, ethnicity, and political affi...
Summary, IV <ul><li>Levels of job satisfaction for environment reporters and U.S. journalists in general were very similar...
Summary V <ul><li>Environment reporters are  journalists  first, linked to their colleagues in the newsroom by their simil...
4. How might we expect the field to change:  Golden Age of Environmental Journalism? <ul><li>Good years, as demonstrated b...
Future of environment reporting   <ul><li>More to do with the future of news than it does with the future of newspapers. E...
Mass Media to Niche Media? <ul><li>Passing of the old guard of veteran journalists and the rise of writers for smaller, sp...
PEJ: New Washington Press Corps a.k.a “the rise of the niche”   <ul><li>“ If the mainstream media have shrunk so dramatica...
Rise of independent sources of environment reporting <ul><li>Non-profit ProPublica [http://www.propublica.org] offers publ...
Building on baseline research <ul><li>Focus here on newspaper and TV reporters; the study would have received richer infor...
Publication scheduled <ul><li>Sachsman, D., Simon, J., and Valenti, J. (forthcoming).  Environment Reporters of the 21st c...
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Environmental Journalists in the 21st Century: A Study of U.S. Environment Reporters vs. U.S. Journalists in General

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A presentation for the 4th International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, July 2009, Athens Greece .
AuthorDavid B. Sachsman -University of Tennessee at Chattanooga;
James Simon- Fairfield University; JoAnn Myer Valenti
Independent Scholar

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Transcript of "Environmental Journalists in the 21st Century: A Study of U.S. Environment Reporters vs. U.S. Journalists in General"

  1. 1. David B. Sachsman University of Tennessee at Chattanooga James Simon Fairfield University JoAnn Myer Valenti Independent Scholar ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ A presentation for the 4th International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, July 2009, Athens Greece Copyright © 2009 by David B. Sachsman, James Simon, and JoAnn Myer Valenti. Work in progress. Not for citation. Environmental Journalists in the 21st Century: A Study of U.S. Environment Reporters vs. U.S. Journalists in General
  2. 2. Methodology <ul><li>Census approach: calls to every daily newspaper and TV station by region; use of various lists of reporters; “snowball” method </li></ul><ul><li>“ Do you cover the environment on a regular basis as part of your reporting duties?” </li></ul><ul><li>Comparisons whenever possible to Weaver, Wilhoit studies </li></ul><ul><li>Weaver, D. H., Beam, R. A., Brownlee, B. J., Voakes, P. S., & Wilhoit, G. C. (2007). The American journalist in the 21st century: U.S. newspeople at the dawn of a new millennium. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Methodology II <ul><li>New England, 55 of 55 reporters interviewed in 2000 (100% response rate) </li></ul><ul><li>Mountain West, 91 of 91 reporters interviewed in 2001 (100% response rate) </li></ul><ul><li>South, 151 of 158 reporters interviewed in 2002-2003 (95.6% response rate) </li></ul><ul><li>Pacific West, 116 of 127 reporters interviewed in 2002, 2004-05 (91.3% response rate) </li></ul><ul><li>Mid Atlantic, 53 of 53 reporters interviewed in 2003-04 (100% response rate) </li></ul><ul><li>Mid Central, 101 of 117 reporters interviewed in 2004-05 (86.3% response rate) </li></ul><ul><li>West Central, 85 of 85 reporters interviewed in 2004-05 (100% response rate) </li></ul><ul><li>National Total, 652 of 686 reporters interviewed (95.0% response rate) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Key Research Questions: <ul><li>Where are the U.S. environment reporters? </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the U.S. environment reporters? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Key Research Questions: <ul><li>3. How do U.S. environment reporters compare to U.S. journalists in general in terms of: </li></ul><ul><li>personal characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>job characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>media usage patterns </li></ul><ul><li>job satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>attitudes re objectivity, fairness </li></ul><ul><li>4. How might we expect the field to change </li></ul>
  6. 6. 1. Where are the U.S. environment reporters?
  7. 7. Environment Reporters, Daily Newspapers New England (2000) Mtn. West (2001) Pacific West(2002, 04-05) South (2002-03) 82 newspapers 110 newspapers 147 newspapers 310 newspapers 40 without 55 without 54 without 186 without env. reporters env. reporters env. reporters env. reporters 42 with 51 55 with 81 93 with 114 124 with 131 env. reporters env. reporters env. reporters env. reporters 51.2% had one or 50.0% had one or 63.3% had one or 40.6% had one or more env. reporters more env. reporters more env. reporters more env. reporters
  8. 8. Environment Reporters, Daily Newspapers II Mid Atlantic (2003-04) Mid Central (2004-05) West Central (2004-05) 169 newspapers 310 newspapers 334 newspapers 121 without 209 without 263 without env. reporters env. reporters env. reporters 48 with 53 101 with 103 71 with 70 env. reporters env. reporters env. reporters 28.4% had one or 32.6% had one or 21.3% had one or more env. reporters more env. reporters more env. reporters National Total: 577 of 603 newspaper reporters interviewed (95.7%)
  9. 9. Environment Reporters, Television New England (2000 ) Mountain West (2001) Pac West (2002, 04-05) South (2002-2003) 33 stations with news 81 stations with news 96 stations with news 194 stations w news 29 without an 71 without an 81 without an 171 without an env. reporter env. reporter env. reporter env. reporter 4 with 4 10 with 10 15 with 13 23 with 27 env. reporters env. reporters env. reporters env. reporters 12.1% had an 12.3% had one or 15.6% had one or 11.9% had one or env. reporter more env. reporters more env. reporters more env. reporters
  10. 10. Environment Reporters, Television II Mid Atlantic (2003-04 ) Mid Central (2004-05) West Central(2004-05) 89 stations with news 138 stations with news 228 stations with news 89 without an 123 without an 209 without an env. reporter env. reporter env. reporter 0 with 0 15 with 14 19 with 15 env. reporters env. reporters env. reporters 0% had an 11.0% had one or 8.3% had one or env. reporter more env. reporters more env. reporters National Total: 75 of 83 television reporters interviewed (90.4%)
  11. 11.
  12. 12. 2. Who are the environment reporters?
  13. 13. Job Titles of Environment Reporters 100.0% 1.3% 0.0% 49.0% 0.0% 1.3% 8.6% 39.7% South (2002-03) 100.0% 3.6% 10.9% 54.5% 3.6% 9.1% 0.0% 18.2% New Eng. (2000) Pacific West (2002, 04-05) Mtn. West (2001) Total Specialized editor Specialized reporter (business, politics, sports) Reporter, general assign. reporter, staff writer Health reporter or writer Science reporter or writer All Natural Resources, Agriculture, Outdoor Environment reporter, writer; all env. combos 100.0% 100.0% 7.9% 4.4% 7.9% 5.5% 48.2% 49.5% 0.9% 0.0% 1.8% 1.1% 7.9% 8.8% 25.4% 30.8%
  14. 14. Job Titles of Environment Reporters II 100.0% 27.1% 0.0% 42.4% 1.2% 1.2% 3.5% 24.7% West Central (2004-05) 100.0% 2.0% 5.9% 56.9% 2.0% 0.0% 2.0% 31.4% Mid Atlantic (2003-04) National (2000-2005) Mid Central (2004-05) Total Specialized editor Specialized reporter (business, politics, sports) Reporter, general assign. reporter, staff writer Health reporter or writer Science reporter or writer All Natural Resources, Agriculture, Outdoor Environment reporter, writer; all env. combos 100.0% 100.0% 9.7% 21.8% 3.7% 1.0% 49.4% 50.5% 0.8% 0.0% 1.9% 1.0% 5.6% 2.0% 29.0% 23.8%
  15. 15. Percentage of time spent on environment stories 44.2% 55.0% 50.0% 37.9% Mean 91 30.7% 31.9% 37.4% Mountain West (2001) 55 18.2% 23.6% 58.2% New England (2000) 151 116 n 29.8% 41.4% 67-100% 18.5% 23.3% 34-66% 51.7% 35.3% 0-33% South (2002-2003) Pacific West (2002, 04-05)
  16. 16. Percentage of time spent on environment stories II 43.0% 33.0% 30.2% 47.4% Mean 101 14.9% 15.8% 69.3% Mid Central (2004-05) 53 33.9% 17.0% 49.1 % Mid Atlantic (2003-04) 652 85 n 26.0% 12.9% 67-100% 21.8% 22.4% 34-66% 52.2% 64.7% 0-33% National (2000-05) West Central (2004-05)
  17. 17. 3. How do environment reporters compare to U.S. journalists in general?
  18. 18. Personal Characteristics
  19. 19. <ul><li>Age Environment Reporters U.S. Journalists </li></ul><ul><li> (2000-05) (2002)* </li></ul><ul><li>18-24 4.5% 4.4% </li></ul><ul><li>25-34 28.0% 29.3% </li></ul><ul><li>35-44 28.9% 27.9% </li></ul><ul><li>45-54 30.6% 28.2% </li></ul><ul><li>55+ 8.0% 10.1% </li></ul><ul><li>Years in Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>Male 16.2 years 18.0 years </li></ul><ul><li>Female 12.8 years 13.0 years </li></ul><ul><li>All 14.9 years </li></ul><ul><li>*Weaver et al. (2007), pp. 6-22. U.S. journalists at daily/weekly newspapers, radio/TV, news magazines, wire services. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Education Environment Reporters U.S. Journalists Education (2000-05) (2002) H.S. or less 0.6% 1.8% Some college 6.2% 8.9% College graduate 68.1% 68.0% Some graduate 7.6% 4.7% Masters or more 17.6% 16.6%
  21. 21. Education II <ul><li>23.3% of environment reporters who graduated from college (and answered the question) majored in one or another of the sciences compared to 2.9% of U.S. journalists in general. </li></ul><ul><li>38.7% of environment reporters who graduated from college (and answered the question) minored in one or another of the sciences. </li></ul><ul><li>Of the 114 environment reporters who received master’s or other advanced degrees, 16 received master’s in the sciences . </li></ul>
  22. 22. Religion <ul><li>Environment reporters more likely to be Protestant, and U.S. journalists had higher percentages of Catholic and Jewish reporters </li></ul><ul><li>Slightly higher percentage of U.S. journalists (36.0%) than environment reporters (30.0%) said religion was very important </li></ul><ul><li>Percentages saying religion was somewhat important were almost identical </li></ul>
  23. 23. Ethnicity & Gender <ul><li>Both groups were overwhelmingly white, but the percentage of white environment reporters was higher (96.6% to 91.6%) </li></ul><ul><li>Percentage of males was double that of females in both groups </li></ul>
  24. 24. Political Affiliation <ul><li>Despite the stereotype, the percentage of Democrat environment reporters (32.6%) was a bit lower than U.S. journalists in 2002 (35.9%) </li></ul><ul><li>Environment reporters more Independents (51.8% to 32.5%) </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. journalists in 2002 almost twice as many Republicans (18% to 9.3%) </li></ul>
  25. 25. Income <ul><li>Given average experience of environment reporters, average salary was low </li></ul><ul><li>47.8% earned less than $35,000 </li></ul><ul><li>40.2% earned from $35,000 to $60,000 </li></ul><ul><li>U.S. journalists earned a median of $43,588 in 2002 </li></ul>
  26. 26. Summary <ul><li>The older workforce employed in journalism by 2002 may have reduced the greater age and experience level one might expect from environment reporters. </li></ul><ul><li>In their personal characteristics, similarities outweighed differences. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Job Characteristics Autonomy in the Newsroom
  28. 28. Freedom in Selecting Stories <ul><li>Both groups of journalists were asked whether, “they had almost complete freedom in selecting stories,” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>40% of U.S. journalists responded that they had “almost complete” freedom in selecting stories </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>33.1% of environment reporters felt the same amount of freedom </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  29. 29. News Aspects Emphasized <ul><li>When asked if, “they have almost complete freedom in deciding which aspects of a news story to emphasize,” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>42.0% of U.S. journalists said they had “almost complete” freedom </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>38.2% of environment reporters said they had “almost complete” freedom </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  30. 30. Media Usage Patterns, Magazines <ul><li>Top 4 magazines very similar </li></ul><ul><li>Environment (2000-05) U.S (2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Newsweek Newsweek </li></ul><ul><li>Time Time </li></ul><ul><li>National Geographic The New Yorker </li></ul><ul><li>The New Yorker Sports Illustrated </li></ul><ul><li>Environment reporters more likely to read National Geographic, Smithsonian, E: The Environment Magazine and Outside . </li></ul>
  31. 31. Media Usage Patterns, Newspapers <ul><li>Top four newspapers were the same, reflecting the national orientation of all four papers: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The New York Times </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Washington Post </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Wall Street Journal </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>USA Today </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Media Usage Patterns, Television <ul><li>Both groups more likely to watch cable TV news. </li></ul><ul><li>50.9% or environment reporters and 40.4% of U.S. journalists (2002) did not watch network news. </li></ul><ul><li>30.4% of environment reporters and 16.6% of U.S. journalists watched no cable news. </li></ul><ul><li>22.7% of environment reporters and 23.2% of U.S. journalists watched cable news every day. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Job Satisfaction of Environment Reporters (2000-05) and U.S. Journalists (2002) 1.7% 2.2% Very Dissatisfied 14.4% 12.6% Somewhat Dissatisfied 50.6% 54.0% Fairly Satisfied 33.3% 31.2% Very Satisfied U.S. Journalists (2002) Environment Reporters (2000-05) Job Satisfaction
  34. 34. Job Satisfaction by Job Characteristics <ul><li>Television environment reporters more satisfied than newspaper </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters’ whose title included “environment” more satisfied </li></ul><ul><li>Those who spent at least two thirds of their time on environment stories more satisfied </li></ul><ul><li>Significant (p<.05) relationships between satisfaction and autonomy </li></ul><ul><li>More likely to be satisfied if their news organization enhanced public’s understanding, had freedom in selecting stories and aspects to emphasize, and were free to follow up on stories </li></ul><ul><li>The more education environment reporters had, the less satisfied they felt </li></ul>
  35. 35. How Do They Do Their Jobs: Story Framing <ul><li>The study asked reporters how often they used each of nine story angles to help frame their environment stories: a government angle, nature/wilderness, human interest, business/economic, politics, pollution, science/technology, health, risk assessment. </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters chose among five options: always, often, sometimes, rarely or never </li></ul>
  36. 36. Framing an Environment Story: New England (2000) <ul><li>Combined % saying they use a story angle or frame </li></ul><ul><li>“ always/ often/ sometimes” </li></ul><ul><li>1. (tie) Government 98% </li></ul><ul><li>1. (tie) Pollution 98% </li></ul><ul><li>1. (tie) Human Interest. 98% </li></ul><ul><li>4. Health 96% </li></ul><ul><li>4. Nature/wilderness 96% </li></ul><ul><li>6. Business/economics 91% </li></ul><ul><li>7. Science/technology 89% </li></ul><ul><li>8. Politics 84% </li></ul><ul><li>9. Risk assessment 72% </li></ul>
  37. 37. How Do They Do Their Jobs: Sourcing <ul><li>Reporters were asked about their use of 29 specific sources: </li></ul><ul><li>8 federal government offices </li></ul><ul><li>7 state-level offices and individuals </li></ul><ul><li>4 local offices </li></ul><ul><li>6 environmental groups or individuals </li></ul><ul><li>3 business-related groups or individuals </li></ul><ul><li>1 academic researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Each was rated on a five-point scale, ranging from 1(always) to 5 (never) used it. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Summary: Most used sources 3. State Dept. of Environmental Quality 2. Local activist citizens 1. Local environment Groups Mountain West (2001) 3. State Dept. of Natural Resources 2. Local environment Groups 1. State Dept. of Environ. Quality New Eng. (2000) 3. Local activist citizens 3. Local enviro. groups 2. State Dept. of Enviro. Quality 2. Local activist citizens 1. Local environment Groups 1. State Dept. of Environmental Quality Pacific NW (2002) South (2002-2003)
  39. 39. Environment sources vs. business sources, New Eng. (2000) <ul><li>Combined % saying they use a source </li></ul><ul><li>“ always/ often/ sometimes” </li></ul><ul><li>1. Local environment groups 100% </li></ul><ul><li>1. Individual, local citizens active on the environment 100% </li></ul><ul><li>13. Local manufacturers, developers or other business leaders </li></ul><ul><li>73% </li></ul><ul><li>15. Audubon Society 71% </li></ul><ul><li>18. Chambers of Commerce 55% </li></ul><ul><li>19. Sierra Club 55% </li></ul><ul><li>21. NRDC, 40% </li></ul><ul><li>28. Chemical Manufacturers Association 20% </li></ul><ul><li>29. Greenpeace 11% </li></ul>
  40. 40. How Do They Do Their Jobs: Type of sources <ul><li>% saying they “always” or “often” talk to: </li></ul><ul><li>New Mtn. West South Pacific </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Eng.(2000) (2001) (2002,03) NW(2002) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>PIO 74.1% 74.7% 77.5% 66.7% </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists 65.5% 60.4% 53.7% 66.7% </li></ul><ul><li>Administrators 49.1% 63.7% 42.4% 38.6% </li></ul>
  41. 41. Value of sources <ul><li>% saying source has “very high” or “fairly high” value </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> New Mountain South Pacific </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Eng. (2000) West (2001) (2002,03) NW (2002) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>PIO 31.5% 38.9% 29.8% 19.6% </li></ul><ul><li>Scientists 92.7% 91.2% 91.3% 93.0% </li></ul><ul><li>Administrators 61.9% 57.2% 56.3% 49.1% </li></ul>
  42. 42. How Do They Do Their Jobs: Barriers to reporting <ul><li>Environment reporters presented with 17 potential barriers to their reporting, asked to rate each in terms of it being “always” a barrier vs. often, sometimes, rarely, never </li></ul>
  43. 43. % of NE reporters saying factor was “always” or “often” a barrier <ul><li>Time constraints 42.6% </li></ul><ul><li>Financial constr. 22.2% </li></ul><ul><li>News hole 14.5% </li></ul><ul><li>Gov’t sources 12.7% </li></ul><ul><li>Audience’s lack of tech. knowledge 7.7% </li></ul><ul><li>Need to give stories a </li></ul><ul><li>“ human face” 5.5% </li></ul><ul><li>The competition 3.7% </li></ul><ul><li>Your editors, supervisors 3.6% </li></ul><ul><li>Your lack of technical knowledge 1.9% </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical concerns 1.9% </li></ul><ul><li>Advertisers 1.9% </li></ul><ul><li>Other bus. int. 1.8% </li></ul><ul><li>Your publisher, </li></ul><ul><li>station mgr 0.0% </li></ul><ul><li>Enviro. activists 0.0% </li></ul><ul><li>Legal concerns 0.0% </li></ul><ul><li>University sources 0.0% </li></ul><ul><li>Your colleagues 0.0% </li></ul>
  44. 44. How Do They Do Their Jobs: Fairness to business, enviro. groups <ul><li>Reporters asked in separate questions whether they need to be fair to </li></ul><ul><li>a) corporations, and </li></ul><ul><li>b) environmental advocacy groups </li></ul>
  45. 45. Q: “Environmental journalists need to be fair to sources such as corporations . Do you… 49 57 91 54 N 10% 100% 100% 100% TOTAL 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% Strongly Disagree 0.7% 1.8% 0.0% 0.0% Disagree 37.6% 45.6% 58.2% 53.7% Agree 61.7% 52.6% 41.8% 46.3% Strongly Agree South (2002-03) Pacific NW (2002) Mtn. West (2001) New Eng. (2000)
  46. 46. Q: “Environmental journalists need to be fair to sources such as environmental activist groups. Do you… 150 57 91 54 N 100% 100% 100% 100% TOTAL 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% Strongly Disagree 0.7% 1.8% 0.0% 0.0% Disagree 41.3% 42.1% 63.7% 53.7% Agree 58.0% 56.1% 36.3% 46.3% Strongly Agree South (2002-03) Pacific NW (2002) Mtn. West (2001) New Eng. (2000)
  47. 47. Perceived fairness in reporting <ul><li>Do environment reporters see their </li></ul><ul><li>peers as being too green </li></ul><ul><li>(pro-environment) or too brown </li></ul><ul><li>(pro-business)? </li></ul>
  48. 48. Q: “Environmental journalists tend to be too “green” – meaning slanted in favor of environmentalism. Do you…” 133 47 71 43 N 100.1%* 100% 99.9%* 100% TOTAL *does not = 100% due to rounding 3.8% 2.1% 4.2% 0.0% Strongly Disagree 54.1% 53.2% 57.7% 53.5% Disagree 41.4% 44.7% 36.6% 46.5% Agree 0.8% 0.0% 1.4% 0.0% Strongly Agree South (2002-03) Pacific NW (2002) Mtn. West (2001) New Eng. (2000)
  49. 49. Q: “Environmental journalists tend to be too “brown” – meaning slanted in favor of business and industry. Do you…” 134 46 80 49 N 100% 100% 100.1%* 100% TOTAL *does not = 100% due to rounding 9.7% 4.3% 8.8% 8.2% Strongly Disagree 85.1% 87.0% 88.8% 87.8% Disagree 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 2.0% Agree 5.2% 8.7% 2.5% 2.0% Strongly Agree South (2002-03) Pacific NW (2002) Mtn. West (2001) New Eng. (2000)
  50. 50. How do they do their jobs: Objectivity, advocacy, civic j <ul><li>Almost all the reporters agreed that environmental journalists need to be just as objective as journalists in general, fair to sources such as corporations, and fair to sources such as environmental activist groups. </li></ul><ul><li>But while few felt that reporters were too pro-business, more than one-third of those responding agreed with the statement that environmental reporters tend to be too green, a clear indictment of journalists who acknowledge the need to be fair. </li></ul>
  51. 51. OK to be advocate? <ul><li>Slightly more than one-third of the respondents agreed that environmental journalists sometimes should be advocates for the environment </li></ul><ul><li>Slightly less than one-third (though not all the same people) felt that environmental journalists should work with community leaders to help solve environmental problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Majority of the respondents appear to view objectivity and advocacy (and objectivity and civic journalism) as polar opposites, substantial minorities may be perceiving objectivity and advocacy (and objectivity and community involvement) as separate values that can exist together in certain circumstances. </li></ul>
  52. 52. Summary <ul><li>Daily newspapers far more likely to have environment reporters than television </li></ul><ul><li>Newspapers with larger circulations were most likely to have environment reporters and to have more than one </li></ul><ul><li>Daily newspapers in Pacific West, New England, and Mountain West more likely to have environment reporters </li></ul><ul><li>Wide variety of titles; half were simply called reporters, general assignment reporters, or staff writers </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters spent on average 43% of time on environmental stories, and more than 50% of time in two most western regions </li></ul><ul><li>Only 26.0% covered environment more than two-thirds of the time </li></ul>
  53. 53. Summary, II <ul><li>We expected environment reporters to be older and more experienced than U.S. journalists in general. However, the journalistic workforce was older in 2002 than in previous years. This older workforce employed in 2002 may have reduced greater age and experience level expected from environment reporters </li></ul><ul><li>Environment reporters and U.S. journalists were similar in age, level of education, years in journalism, and gender </li></ul><ul><li>Many of the environment reporters studied the sciences seriously in college, minoring or even majoring in one or another of the sciences, and 16 of the 648 environment reporters who identified their education level hold masters’ in the sciences </li></ul>
  54. 54. Summary, III <ul><li>More similarities than differences in religion, importance of religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation </li></ul><ul><li>When autonomy is defined as “almost complete,” U.S. journalists have more autonomy, but if autonomy is defined as “almost complete” and a “great deal,” environment reporters have more autonomy </li></ul><ul><li>Environment reporters and U.S. journalists in general shared preferences in the newspapers and magazines they read and the amount of time they spent watching television </li></ul>
  55. 55. Summary, IV <ul><li>Levels of job satisfaction for environment reporters and U.S. journalists in general were very similar </li></ul><ul><li>Education correlates negatively with job satisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters from both groups who were white were very likely to be satisfied </li></ul><ul><li>African-American environment reporters more likely to be satisfied than U.S. journalist counterparts </li></ul><ul><li>Hispanic environment reporters less likely </li></ul><ul><li>Television environment reporters more satisfied than newspaper </li></ul><ul><li>Reporters with environmental job titles and those who spent the bulk of their time covering the environment were more satisfied. </li></ul>
  56. 56. Summary V <ul><li>Environment reporters are journalists first, linked to their colleagues in the newsroom by their similar backgrounds and the professional training and experience common to most reporters </li></ul><ul><li>Such a theory of journalism education is worth pursuing because it might explain the similarities that exist among American journalists regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender, politics – or their beat. </li></ul><ul><li>May explain the conflicts that exist between journalists and their news sources, who are trained differently and often have very different educational backgrounds. </li></ul>
  57. 57. 4. How might we expect the field to change: Golden Age of Environmental Journalism? <ul><li>Good years, as demonstrated by the satisfaction felt by environmental reporters in the period and the multi-person environmental reporting staffs at some mid-sized and larger newspapers. </li></ul><ul><li>But few of these reporters were covering the environment full time, and the very part-time nature of the environmental beat already reflected the systemic change in the newspaper business. </li></ul><ul><li>Some veteran environment reporters were moving on to other aspects of the information business, including the Internet (either doing public relations, public information, or news), a trend that would increase as layoffs increased. </li></ul>
  58. 58. Future of environment reporting <ul><li>More to do with the future of news than it does with the future of newspapers. Environmental journalism will survive as long as people want public affairs information on the environment and the world around them, but the form of delivery may be very different. </li></ul><ul><li>In the first decade of the 21st century, most of the best environment reporters worked for daily newspapers. Throughout this period, the newspaper business as a whole was in a state of economic decline, a decline brought on by the digital age and worsened by the drying up of credit and the American-induced worldwide recession that began in 2008. </li></ul><ul><li>Downsizing of staff, upswings in blogging, and a rise in convergence of media outlets have had an impact on specialty beats. </li></ul>
  59. 59. Mass Media to Niche Media? <ul><li>Passing of the old guard of veteran journalists and the rise of writers for smaller, specialized outlets. </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional desire to attract bigger ratings and audiences for newspaper and television is greater these days due to companion Internet sites that measure success by clicks on the web version of stories. Instead of focusing on the quality of the reporting as an indicator of a story’s success, success is now measured by the number of clicks on the Internet version of the story. </li></ul><ul><li>Growth of web sites on specialized topics like the environment tends to draw those who choose to be engaged rather than drawing an audience of the general public. Educating those who are already relatively educated, and leaving those who may not be so educated in the dark </li></ul><ul><li>Sites catering to an even more elite audience that must pay for access to these specialized web sites </li></ul>
  60. 60. PEJ: New Washington Press Corps a.k.a “the rise of the niche” <ul><li>“ If the mainstream media have shrunk so dramatically, even before the last year, how is it that the overall numbers of journalists in Washington have not? </li></ul><ul><li>“ The answer is that a new Washington media have evolved, but they are far from the more egalitarian or citizen-based media that advocates of the digital age might imagine. Instead, this new Washington media cohort is one substantially aimed at elites, often organized by industry, by corporate client, or by niche political interest. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The New Washington Press Corps: A special report on the rise of the niche,” Project for Excellence in Journalism , (2009, Feb. 11); accessed 3-2-09 from http://journalism.org/print/14681 . </li></ul>
  61. 61. Rise of independent sources of environment reporting <ul><li>Non-profit ProPublica [http://www.propublica.org] offers public interest investigations with “moral force.” Led by former Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger, ProPublica is funded by grants, partnerships with media outlets, and individual donations – a model not unlike that of National Public Radio. </li></ul><ul><li>GlobalPost [ http:// www.globalpost.com ] focuses on international reporting. Using web advertising, syndication and paid membership. About 70 contributors get a monthly stipend, and some have been offered shares of the privately owned company. </li></ul><ul><li>Mother Nature Network [http://www.mnn.com] covers environmental stories in ways intended to be understandable to a broad readership, </li></ul><ul><li>Lifestyle and sustainability topics have long been the realm of online publications such as Grist [http://www.grist.org], TreeHugger [http://www.treehugger.com], and PlanetGreen </li></ul>
  62. 62. Building on baseline research <ul><li>Focus here on newspaper and TV reporters; the study would have received richer information if it also included the hundreds if not thousands of magazine writers, freelancers, book authors, and bloggers who write about the environment. </li></ul><ul><li>The researchers focused on the first half of the 2000-2010 decade, comparing environment reporters to U.S. journalists in general. This comparative data might have been enhanced if there had been data about environmental journalists from an earlier time. </li></ul><ul><li>Changes as people continue to obtain their environmental news in different technological ways. </li></ul><ul><li>Other countries? </li></ul>
  63. 63. Publication scheduled <ul><li>Sachsman, D., Simon, J., and Valenti, J. (forthcoming). Environment Reporters of the 21st century. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers. </li></ul><ul><li>Publication scheduled for March 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>ISBN 978-1-4128-1415-7 </li></ul>
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