chapter  13
12 Pages

Risky business

Covering the environment in a changing media landscape
WithMark Schleifstein

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of this chapter provides a wide-ranging essay on his career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune: “I have a bias in my belief that just as I must represent the questions of the residents of our area, I also must ask questions on behalf of those who can’t ask – our natural resources. I believe in the idea that journalism should have a purpose.” During the five-day period at the height of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Times-Picayune’s coverage received 72 million page views on its website NOLA.com. “The intensity of interest in our online coverage – and the fact that we actually were unable to publish a print edition for three days after the storm hit helped shape the direction of our parent company, Advance Publications, to address the national trend of declining print advertising and declining print circulation by focusing full bore on online coverage … A few months after the storm, the Pulitzer Prizes changed their rules to allow entries from entities that were publishing only online, a recognition of our situation after the storm, and of the immediacy of online journalism.” The staff of the paper received Pulitzer Prizes in 2006 for both Public Service and Breaking News Reporting.