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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Andrew Revkin Talks to J-School Students About Climate Change

    Andrew Revkin, a New York Times beat reporter who has covered global climate change for over 20 years, spoke to a small group of journalism students on Thursday about what he does, and how he does it in the changing journalistic environment

    Revkin had just started his new blog, called Dot Earth, the day before, and spent a good portion of the allotted hour discussing the future of journalism, the benefits of blogs, and the necessity for multi-platform journalists.’

    ‘A blog helps to capture several aspects of issues that are hard to print,’ he said. Revkin had mentioned earlier that while the global warming was an important issue, it hardly ever warrants a front-page story. He added that an online format also allows him to include audio and visual content in the form of podcasts and videos.

    In his career with the New York Times, Revkin has traveled three times to the Arctic Circle, but besides those occasional lengthy trips, he said he doesn’t travel much for the job.

    On his beat, Revkin has made more than a few enemies.

    Unable to take a side, he said that he ‘developed a thick skin,’ something that has come in handy following run-ins with both Dana Pirino, the White House Press Secretary, and former Vice President Al Gore, who created the film and book An Inconvenient Truth, which won him both an Academy Award and the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to raise awareness about global warming.

    Dr. Francesca T. Grifo, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, believes that the reason Revkin has such a hard time with the administration is due to what she refers to as ‘political interference.’

    ‘There have been efforts to distort’hellip;reports by the government’ concerning global warming, Grifo stated, citing as an example a report that analyzed the bald eagle’s removal from the endangered species list. Grifo said that there were still several specific populations of eagles that were in danger, but the administration failed to implement a population-specific listing, something that has always been allowed.

    Revkin said that his job was particularly difficult from the journalistic side as well. ‘Most people don’t understand science,’ he said. ‘[Editors] mostly come from a political science or business background.’ He added that articles that deal with the ‘politics of climate change’ are often the stories that do work their way onto the front page.

    Revkin’s work towards raising awareness still has a long way to go, he admits. While Revkin said that he certainly sees some positive changes in society, there needs to be more fundamental changes. ‘9 billion Priuses and 9 billion fluorescent light bulbs aren’t going to solve these problems,’ he said.

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