As you may have noticed, last month saw some important changes to the Ecologist’s news section. Our two previous sections, News in Brief and News Analysis, were amalgamated into a new section called ‘News Focus’. This was largely in recognition of the fact that the Ecologist’s strength is, and always has been, covering stories in a way that others in the more mainstream media are unable to.
After careful consideration, we took the decision that we want the Ecologist to look at issues in a more in-depth and a more critical fashion. Round-the-clock news and commentary can all too easily degenerate into ‘churnalism’ - where press releases, agency copy and other pre-packaged materials are churned out as ‘news’.
You can expect more stories reporting the unreported - and tackling quite often difficult or complex issues.You can expect more investigations. You can expect more photo, or data-led, pieces. This new approach has already seen the publication of some exclusive, detailed and otherwise unreported pieces.
We investigated the UK’s little-known Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) and its murky role in financing projects internationally that have been linked to serious human rights and environmental issues; we documented the brave film makers that stood up to fruit giant Dole with a film examining the plight of Nicaraguan banana plantation workers who brought a landmark legal case in the US against the use of the banned pesticide DBCP.
We also highlighted some worrying concerns over the possible health impacts from radiation in the increasing number of CT scans taking place. Most recently, we exposed how the well-known high street bank Barclays could be making up to £340 million profit annually through controversial food price speculation - campaigners say this process is driving up global food prices and leaving millions facing hunger and malnutrition.
You may have also noticed that in recent weeks we’ve reorganised our content to better highlight the work of the world’s campaigners and others involved in ‘Making A Difference’ - much of the material in this section is unique to the Ecologist and again stands us apart from other, more conventional, outlets. Over the coming weeks (and months) they’ll be more important developments - there’s a number of special reports in the pipeline as well as new columns and features, which will ensure we build on 40 years of setting the environmental-agenda.
Meanwhile, this month we’re also covering the hidden cost of the London 2012 Olympic Games; reporting on a remarkable activist in Canada who is standing up the oil industry; examining the threat from invasive plants; and highlighting some of current issues facing the renewables sector.