Live in the Carolinas? Energy companies might be funding your local science sections. No joke.
Direct your attention to this poignant post by Paul Raeburn*, which is at one of my favorite blogs in the whole world: Knight Science Journalism Tracker (KSJT).
KSJT is a nerderific outlet for the science journalist/writer community, but also a great public service for those curious about science news’ successes, failures and every shade of gray inbetween.
Anyhow, the post describes how some newspapers are turning to single-source underwriters to float their reader-loved, advertiser-avoided science sections. In this particular case — originally covered as a feel-good story by the respected Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) — the underwriter of some McClatchy newspaper science sections happens to be…
…a fossil fuel-using energy company.
I’ll let you put two + two together on why this is a serious eyebrow-raiser. Clues: climate change + single source of money + news content.
I think Raeburn does an excellent job of pulling the string of the real story, giving it a mighty yank, and wagging a thread-entangled finger at CJR.
To pull that string further, I wonder what other questionably underwritten science sections are out there. Better yet, what science sections (and any other sections for that matter) are significantly underwritten at all.
When I find how to squeeze another 24 hours out of a 24-hour day, I’ll get right on this assignment…
*I touted this as a post by Charlie Petit on Twitter earlier, and for that I apologize (my thanks to Lee Billings for pointing this out)