Covering Fracking in the News

Bryan Walsh’s “How the Sierra Club Took Millions from the Natural Gas Industry–and Why they Stopped” highlights how the change of leadership in the Sierra Club contributed to the grassroots group’s position change regarding fracking. Do you think that Walsh’s story accurately portrays the Sierra Club’s position change or is there a slant? At the bottom of the story, the writer included an update that Brune posted on the Sierra Club blog. Do you think that blogs can help reporters in accurately covering an issue or individuals? Or, do you think using quotes from blogs hinders the credibility of a story?  

This webpage explains that covering fracking is now very common in the media–something I have definitely noticed recently. ProPublica states that national and local media outlets have full-time reporters covering hydraulic fracturing. Fracking seems to be the “hot-topic” in environmental journalism currently. Do you think this issue gathers enough public interest for newspapers and magazines to have a fracking beat? 

The Fracking Song attempts to display the fracking issue in a concise and viewer-friendly way. If you click on the link that says, “more about the video” on that page, Todd explains that the video should not take the place of investigative journalism. Which form of presenting information do you think is better for viewers/readers? 

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4 Responses to “Covering Fracking in the News”

  1. This is a very interesting story. I believe that blogs can help reporters accurately cover issues. Blogs provide a space to write with a little less formality and as seen at the bottom of the article, the writer is able to stress his own point of view. The major concern may be how this takes away from the reporters credibility when (s)he is writing for a news outlet. The credibility may not be as strong as from a professional news article — however, the opinion is just as valuable to consider.

    While I’ve noticed many articles about fracking, they all seem to be politically influenced and either arguing about their negative impact on climate change or their positive impact for American jobs. What isn’t commonly written about is their impact on the water quality of nearby towns. This seems like a story could gain much more traction and should be used by environmentalists because it has a very sentimental edge.

  2. The video, however annoying, was definitely helpful for me to watch before reading anything. I didn’t know much about fracking but I think the video does a nice over-view explaining the process and possible outcomes. However, like Erin posted, there’s no way this could replace an actual article. Animations with silly music don’t really lend themselves to having credibility. Okay, so I understand what it is, but there isn’t any information about how common or severe these problems actually are. I don’t feel informed after watching this video but it did help to understand the process before reading any articles. The video definitely helps dilute a political and economic issue by focusing on the process and outcome.

    The article doesn’t even describe what the Seirra Club is. I’m not really aware of news things, so reading this article without a description of the main subject was confusing. It seems they are focusing more on the economic issues and where money is coming from.
    I do like the last quote where the Seirra Club talks about what needs to be done. I think this should have been higher in the article or more intertwined because the rest only focuses on money – not the regulation issues that the video addresses.

  3. The article did seem to have a slant that advocated for the concept of continued support that corporations give nonprofits, as long as the public knows who the donors are, and they are aligned with the nonprofit’s goals. This seems reasonable enough, but by outlining the logic in the continued corporation support of “mainstream green groups” the author is definitely trying to make a statement he anticipates controversy about; This concept of this relationship is rocky for a reason, corporations are out to make a profit, nonprofits are clearly not. Anyways,taking blog comments as serious statements seems a bit shaky to me, but as long as the person quoted backs up those published comments I don’t see a problem. Both sides of the issue were quoted and there is an update on the issue confirming the stance the author originally attributed to Brune? I think that is pretty responsible reporting.

  4. I like how the video tries to illustrate what fracking is, but I agree with Marlene. It is annoying and i think the bright colors and the overall tone of the video is misleading. The music and the punny “what the frack is going on” makes the whole issue into a sort of joke. I don’t think this is appropriate. As reporters, I think we need to worry about how the overall story comes across to the reader. We need to make sure the tone matches the story, otherwise the audience will read it wrong. Someone who listens to this song will probably come away from listening to the song with an inappropriate impression of fracking as something that’s to be taken lightly. Therefore, I don’t think this video is very journalistic.

    As for the article, I do think that blogs are helpful to the article and its content. It presents Brune’s own personal reporting in the context of this larger article. I think that’s a way of the future as professional news organizations try to compete with bloggers and other non-professionals. If professional news organizations were to ignore blog posts, that would be adding more of a slant on the article than if they did include the blog post. That would mean acting as if certain information didn’t exist when in reality it did. All sources on the internet should work together. Blogging can be credible, especially when it’s information released to the public by Brune, the subject of the story being covered!

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