Environmental news buried at New York Times and Wall Street Journal

By Jeremy Hance
Washington, DC (May 9, 2008)- The Project for Excellence in Journalism has released a study examining the front pages of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal from December 13, 2007 through March 13, 2008. The report found that both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times essentially buried environmental stories, as environmental news for both papers made up only 1 percent of the total front page.

The New York Times focused primarily on domestic elections and politics with more than one in four front page stories on these issues: 26.5 percent to be exact. The Wall Street Journal focused mostly on foreign news at 25.4 percent.
Both papers had more frontpage stories on sports, entertainment, and lifestyles than on the environment. 3.7 percent of The Wall Street Journal’s front page was made up by entertainment and sports. While at The New York Times sports and entertainment appeared on the front page nearly seven times that of environmental stories with 6.9 percent. Health/medicine-related stories at The New York Times was more than seven times the environment with 7.3 percent. In both papers the environment nearly tied science/technology which was 0.8 percent at The New York Times and 1.1 percent at The Wall Street Journal.
Beyond the front page, neither The New York Times nor The Wall Street Journal includes an environmental section. In The New York Times, environmental stories appear in the science section, which covers a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, technology, biology and evolution. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t have a science section, although it does have a technology section. In The Wall Street Journal environmental stories don’t have a secure home, but fall under various headings.
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are considered by many to be some of America’s most influential and important daily publications. The lack of environmental stories which appear on the front page perhaps contributes to why Americans view environmental issues (such as global warming, pollution, extinction, and drought) as less important than that of Australians and Chinese.
In a recent poll Australians named the environment their number one issue, while the Chinese rated it their fourth highest concern. An ABC News/Wall Street Journal taken in March placed the environment as number seven out of eight issues for Americans. However the poll was unique, since most polls in America don’t include the environment as an option among the country’s most pressing issues.
Related Resources:
Environmental news buried at New York Times and Wall Street Journal
State of the News Media 2008
Project for Excellence in Journalism