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Environmental journalism revisited

The traditional journalistic model has been to follow interesting stories, expose scandals and explore controversies. This approach has been very relevant to the political process, but it is not so applicable to the now-critical relation between humanity and the Earth. Today’s communities must understand the interconnections between energy use, climate and food to make the transition to an efficient, resilient and sustainable society. This process involves people from all sectors – businesses, citizens groups, farmers and foresters, students and teachers, officials in state government, politicians and voters. It requires an informed public with access to a wide range of articles of trustworthy information relating to local and global environmental issues.

This vision is the basis for the Sunday Environment Section featured in two Vermont statewide newspapers since January 2008: the Rutland Herald and the Barre Montpelier Times Argus. Elizabeth Gibson is the section editor and Alan Betts, a climate scientist, is the science advisor and one of six columnists. Articles are selected based on their relevance to major environmental issues in Vermont and are then reviewed and edited for technical accuracy and clarity of expression. This chapter outlines the philosophy and scope of this project, including some of the major environmental themes that have emerged to date and the significance of an informed public for facilitating environmental leadership.

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Betts, A.K. and E. Gibson (2012), Environmental journalism revisited. Ch. 41, pp. 382-390, in Environmental Leadership: a Reference Handbook. Deborah R. Gallagher, Editor, SAGE publications Inc., Sept. 2012, ISBN: 9781412981507.

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