Environmental News Review
Choose an article that discusses a conflict over an environmental issue. Conflicts should be between groups of people, not between people and the environment (like natural disasters) unless people somehow made the problem worse. For example, damages from flooding may be worsened by where and how people build in flood zones. When in doubt, ask me.
Conflicts should be between two or more groups of people, which we call stakeholders.
Articles should come from online newspapers; links to some sources are provided.
Articles should be at least 10-12 paragraphs to provide enough information for you to review.
Choose articles discussing current events, published no more that one month before the assignment due date.
Avoid biased articles. These may be editorials, opinions, columns, blogs or press releases. While often interesting and informative, these tend less thorough or present only one opinion on a topic.
Include a link to the news item in your review.
News Review Format:
Your reviews will be typed, single-spaced, at a minimum of about 600 words. You will submit your review in Canvas.
Points will be deducted for not following these format guidelines.
The header of your review must include the proper citation for the article:
(include both where you saw the article as well as where it was originally published, if applicable)
(indicate wire service if author is not given, for example: AP, author unknown)
(give the full web address, despite what you may have learned in another class)
The body of your review should be a paragraph addressing each of the following seven questions.
Number each paragraph according to each question. (Please do not include the questions with each paragraph.)
1. What is the central conflict in this news item? What is the setting (time and place) of the conflict? (If you can’t identify a conflict, then choose another article.)
2. Who are the stakeholders in this situation? Discuss how they are involved or affected. Stakeholders are groups of people that hold a stake in how the issue is resolved, that can sit at a table and work out a solution. If you think animals or the environment should be represented at the table, name a group that could represent their interests. It may be hypothetical, like “wildlife advocates” if a specific stakeholder isn’t in the article. You should include at least 3 stakeholder groups representing all interests in the issue, those who may be harmed or who benefit, or groups who represent other living things.
3. What actions were taken or proposed, and what were the actual or expected consequences of the action(s)? How effective was (or might be) each action in dealing with the issue?
4. What is missing from this article? Is the story one-sided? Are there any parties whose interests are not covered in this article?
5. What is the science used to argue either side of this issue? Use concepts from class whenever possible, something you already learned or is still coming up. Science usually explains what causes the problem. Do not just state that science was involved because something was measured, or chemicals were named. If little science is discussed directly, use your class knowledge or look ahead in the book to fill in the gaps. See examples for ideas.
6. What are the financial issues? Are there economic or political interests in this issue? These may or may not be addressed directly in the article. Speculate on what you think the economic or political impacts may be. Economics are typically at the root of these conflicts through business and industry causing pollution or damaging habitat or taking shortcuts to save money.
7. What is your opinion on the situation? What suggestions can you offer to improve the situation? Do you think this situation is or can be resolved? (Note: “They are doing everything that can be done” is not an acceptable answer.)
Examples are posted on the class Canvas site.
Use the Canvas link to turn in your News Review
Some sources of articles for News Reviews.
Browse carefully. Not all articles will be appropriate. Try searching on “environment” or specific topics.
The Oregonian http://www.oregonlive.com/ (Portland’s daily newspaper)
Stories featuring environmental issues http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/
The Olympian www.theolympian.com/ (Olympia’s daily newspaper)
The Chronicle www.chronline.com/ (Centralia, Lewis County)
Seattle Times www.seattletimes.com/ (Seattle’s larger daily newspaper)
Earth Fix www.earthfix.info/ (Environmental News from WA and OR public broadcasting)
New York Times www.nytimes.com/ (one of US’s largest and best daily newspapers)
Stories featuring environmental issues http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/earth/index.html
Sightline Daily http://www.sightline.org/news/
Summarizes environmental and other news from the Cascadia bioregion (roughly the Pacific Northwest and adjacent parts of Canada).
Look carefully for articles by news organizations, and still avoid commentary, opinion pieces, and blogs. (Articles by Sightline are more like blogs than news, so keep looking.)
Environmental News Service www.ens-newswire.com/
Again, choose news articles, not press releases or commentary. Many articles cite ENS as the author, which should usually be ok. (Some of them are not much different from press releases. Look to see that there is information from a variety of sources in the article.)
Sites to avoid
ScienceDaily.com links mostly to press releases, so avoid this site.
Still not sure if your article will work? Send me a link at least two days before your assignment is due. I’ll get you feedback within a day.
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