Last year an activist judge who was disgraced in a scandal and lost his election, ruled that I am not a journalist. Paul Burka, Senior Editor of Texas Monthly says I am a journalist. I believe Texas law also says I’m a journalist.
(2) “Journalist” means a person, including a parent, subsidiary, division, or affiliate of a person, who for a substantial portion of the person’s livelihood or for substantial financial gain, gathers, compiles, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, investigates, processes, or publishes news or information that is disseminated by a news medium or communication service provider . . .
Writing for this blog and other online sources, submitting letters to the editor and opinion pieces is a big part of my job. To my son’s dismay, Twitter and Facebook are also part of my job.
But the internet, where news is free, is shrinking print media. While journalism struggles to reinvent itself, PR firms are stepping into the void.
In their recent book, “The Death and Life of American Journalism,” Robert McChesney and John Nichols tracked the number of people working in journalism since 1980 and compared it to the numbers for public relations. Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they found that the number of journalists has fallen drastically while public relations people have multiplied at an even faster rate. In 1980, there were about .45 PR workers per 100,000 population compared with .36 journalists. In 2008, there were .90 PR people per 100,000 compared to .25 journalists. That’s a ratio of more than three-to-one, better equipped, better financed. ProPublica
All that to say: I know the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) is hurting but making a Faustian deal with the fracking industry is not the answer.
It’s tragic and disgraceful to see adds like this one from EnergyFromShale.org in the SEJ Magazine.
Even more tragic: This ad ran in the same SEJ Magazine issue that focused on Hurricane Sandy.
And Even worse, the only session on fracking in the upcoming SEJ annual conference will not allow a discussion about the pros and cons.
THE CRAFT 1
Follow the Frackin’ Money
Fracking has its supporters and detractors. It also puts enormous piles of money at stake from small-town America to Washington to Wall Street. While we won’t discuss the arguments for or against fracking, our veteran reporters will help unravel fracking’s financial pipelines: Whether money’s influence may be seeping into fracking science, fueling political decisions, funding fracking’s opponents, or spinning the lives and fortunes of small towns and rural areas.
Moderator: Peter Dykstra, Publisher, Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate
Brian Grow, Enterprise Correspondent, Reuters
Don Hopey, Environment Reporter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
3rd speaker TBA
While I have nothing but praise for Hopey and the PPG for their reporting on the Baby Gaggers, I have to ask SEJ:
Why not discuss the fracking pros and cons?