20 December 2010

Regional Paper Without Environmental Reporter

The largest newspaper in Nebraska no longer has a full-time reporter responsible for writing about environmental topics.

Upon learning this and inquiring further, and during a couple of discussions with representatives of the Omaha World-Herald in recent days, this situation has become readily apparent.

If someone wants to suggest a story related to the environment, they can contact an editor, as other reporters might prepare items on environmental topics, the news editor indicated. He did not provide any comment suitable to explain the lack of a reporter focused on this subject.

The publisher of the Omaha World-Herald, also did not provide a comment when asked about this situation.

The management staff have obviously decided that other subjects deserve greater attention.


* There are multiple food writers, as conveyed in an issue of a paper a few days ago suggesting readers go online to discuss things;
* The paper has a blog and multiple contributors about being a mom;
* There are two columnists for the news section, one for the living section and one for sports;
* There is a reporter whom writes only about weather;
* From reviewing the sport section bylines, there are at least three writers whose only subject is Big Red sports, and at least another ten sports writers.

One possible reason for this situation, is that there is no reader interest. This is a paradox, since how can readers be interested when there is no reporting on the subject?

Also, obviously, the well-known problems of being successful in publishing a newspaper have been reported far and wide, and the same issues apply as well at the Omaha World-Herald, where numerous reporters and other staff have been "let go" recently.

Having numerous other reporters assigned to a particular "beat," and none to the environment or sustainability is a situation which shows an obvious decline in the Omaha World-Herald being a "paper for the people" and "a voice promoting conservation."

Looking back, the halycon days were when Fred Thomas was always on the scene, interested in pertinent environmental topics, and doing stories and his ever-special Sunday column. There was lots to express, and he did a wonderful job.

The Omaha newspaper is but a shadow of what it was at its peak, and the lack of an environmental reporter, and the dearth of news nearly each day, show it has descended into something so much less that with it formerly was.