Don’t Gut Environmental News Coverage


Target: Jarl Mohn, CEO of National Public Radio

Goal: Restore coverage of important environmental and climate change issues on National Public Radio

National Public Radio (NPR) recently gutted its environment and climate reporting staff, shrinking the team from three full-time reporters and one editor to just one part-time reporter. As climate change and its effects become devastatingly visible, this is a truly baffling and disturbing development from a media outlet that millions rely on daily for comprehensive news coverage. Founded as an organization that would “address national concerns,” NPR is all but ignoring one of the greatest concerns facing the Unites States and the world today.

Anne Gudenkauf, supervising editor of NPR’s science desk, explained the move saying that the environment did not require “dedicated reporters,” and would receive enough attention as part of other reporters’ coverage. However, Gudenkauf also admitted that reducing the staff was part of an effort to shift coverage to other areas instead. NPR’s pieces tagged as “environment” steadily declined over the last year, and can only be expected to drop further as a result of this staff reduction.

The New York Times also drastically decreased the size of its environment-focused team recently, but later went back on the move and returned to previous numbers, admitting that more staff were needed to cover an issue of such significance.

NPR’s slashing of its environmental reporting team comes as yet another instance in a larger trend of increasingly insufficient or outright false news coverage on the issue of climate change. Millions of Americans — often the top contributors to the process of climate change itself – are led to doubt its validity, and the crucial steps needed to address this issue are further delayed.

Last September, hundreds of thousands of people — including more than 100 world leaders — attended the People’s Climate March in New York City, with 2,646 solidarity events held in 162 countries worldwide. The fact that NPR can assume such a monumental issue of national and international concern needs no more than a single part-time reporter is shocking and unacceptable. Sign the petition below to demand that NPR give Americans the information they need about the environment.


Dear Mr. Mohn,

Climate change and the environment are extremely important and increasingly pressing issues that are of immediate concern to every American, as well as all people worldwide.  NPR’s recent and drastic reduction of its environment and climate staff is thus alarming and greatly distressing.

The hundreds of thousands that massed in New York for the People’s Climate March are a testament to the growing awareness of climate as an enormously important issue of our time. As an organization created for the purpose of providing comprehensive news on matters of public interest, NPR is neglecting its foundational principles by downsizing environmental and climate coverage.

I am urging you to reverse NPR’s decision to downsize its team reporting on environment and climate-related issues.   Please ensure that Americans receive the news they need to be informed about these topics that so directly impact our nation and the world.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: HonestReporting via flickr

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  1. Absurd to eliminate the most essential part of our lives that affects everything.

  2. As important as climate change is in its affects on our environment and wildlife, it is shocking that the once valuable news reporting station has lost its way.
    The mostly non-partisan, yet open-minded approach, previously, taken by NPR has shifted its emphasis to a more conservative and rigid proclivity.
    I, sadly, believe that much of this has to do with the influence of corporate donors, many/most of which are members of ALEC and anti-climate change supporters. The most obvious being the Koch brothers. I have been observing the change in NPR for a few years now, but knew that when the Kochs threatened to withdrawal their large donation, if NPR aired an important documentary disparaging them, and the station reversed their decision, the writing was on the wall. The mission of NPR which use to be the “truth”, science, important news issues, controversial subjects, thorough reporting. Major corporate donors have “persuaded” them to be otherwise. One of the few stations, I trusted, is, sadly, no more. I realize NPR depends on big donors, but what will they sacrifice just to remain on air, regardless of the quality, honesty and significance of its reporting? There have to be some corporations that believe in truthful reporting and won’t resort to extortion to achieve their ends. There has to be someone in upper management that believes that kind of support is most meaningful and ethical. If you believe in the science and protecting our planet, have sufficient staff to relay that. Have the courage and determination to return to the once excellent quality reporting that made NPR a station worth listening to and believing in.

  3. NPR…what in the hell is going on with you? Too many pesticides or what? Absolutely unacceptable.

  4. HOW TRUE!

    There’s not enough news coverage regarding our natural world, our wildlife, our animals, domesticated, farm, wild, ranches, sanctuaries ….

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