The Environment Beat 1
A wide range of influences potentially have an impact on environment reporting, including the impact of community structures on local news coverage, the effects of how environmental messages are framed in news stories, and agenda setting for the issue of environmental pollution. This chapter analyzes the attitudes of those newspaper and television journalists who are assigned to the environment beat, full-time and part-time, and are most likely to cover risk in their reporting. While many environmental stories were written by science writers, a separate environment beat was emerging. JoAnn Myer Valenti and Lee Wilkins offered a protocol for ethical reporting of risk to improve public understanding of science and environment issues in the news. The news media serve as gatekeepers and the primary brokers of information on science, risk, hazards, and technology. Government is the dominant source for environmental news.