Climate change brouhaha a non-story - Paul Ingrassia
Tuesday 27 August 2013
Reuters managing editor Paul Ingrassia, pictured, has dismissed controversy over reduced coverage of climate change as the claims of a disgruntled former employee and a non-story.
“My side of the story is that there is no story,” he told Vancouver-based DeSmogBlog – “the world’s number one source for accurate, fact based information regarding global warming misinformation campaigns”. It had asked Ingrassia if there had been a policy shift at Reuters, if he classed himself as a climate science sceptic and if the agency would be hiring a replacement climate correspondent for Asia.
DeSmogBlog said: “Responding for the first time to the accusations that climate change has been pushed down the editorial pecking order, Ingrassia e-mailed DeSmogBlog: ‘On all issues that we cover, Reuters covers all sides and takes none, as our Trust Principles require.’ Just a few days ago Reuters exclusively broke a story about the latest report of the Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he said. “Other major news organisations credited us with the scoop. That fact speaks louder than the claims of a disgruntled former employee.”
Although he did not identify him by name, Ingrassia was referring to David Fogarty, who resigned from Reuters in January as Asia climate change correspondent after being told his role was being axed. Fogarty wrote extensively on The Baron last month about climate change coverage.
DeSmogBlog noted that research by Media Matters website, reported in The Guardian, found climate change coverage at Reuters had almost halved since Ingrassia was hired as deputy editor-in-chief in April 2011.
The Columbia Journalism Review’s Alexis Sobel Fitts spoke to several Reuters journalists, who, Fitts wrote, “said that since Ingrassia was hired, they’ve felt pressure from management to add ‘balance’ to climate change stories by including the views of global-warming sceptics”.
“I’m really glad someone outside the company is looking into this,” said one staffer who did not wish to be identified. “I think this is the most worrying thing any of us have seen here.”
Reuters still retains some respected climate change writers, including the experienced reporter Alister Doyle and columnist Gerard Wynn, DeSmogBlog said.
“Reuters remains one of the great names, a trusted brand, for news unbiased coverage,” Fogarty said. “That hard-earned reputation has immense value because clients, the public and staff know they can trust the accuracy of Reuters news and that major issues will be covered fully and insightfully. So when there’s a major policy shift on coverage of an issue of global importance, it is fair to ask for an honest explanation. Reuters management has not done this and it is a fair question to ask why.” ■