For my Editing & Design class, we were instructed to create a curation topic we could blog about on a weekly basis. I am currently pursuing environmental journalism and I believe this project has given me a great excuse to deeply examine environmental issues and how they are presented to the public.
Below are the main websites I will be collecting information from, as well as tidbits of information about their purpose, strengths and limitations.
1. New York Times Environmental section: These articles will be sharp and perceptive. They will lead the reader straight to the point and won’t dilly-dally for long, if at all. The New York Times offers a section where a viewer can narrow their search down by environmental topics with choices like global warming, endangered and extinct species and air pollution. The main problem with this page, as well as most of the other pages on the NYTimes’ website, is that they eye doesn’t really know where to go – there isn’t a main picture or highlighted article.
2. Discover Magazine: This is probably my favorite website I stumbled across. It is organized, updated often and has a welcoming front page. Discover also offers blog posts with titles like “Out There,” “Science Sushi” and “Fire in the Mind.” These informal names grab a viewer’s attention – another important aspect to mention. This website keeps its readers in mind by including articles such as “At Home Science: Ice Cream Chemistry.” Yum. Discover is available in both print and digital issues.
3. NaturalNews: While the homepage may look like a lot of text (and pleading for the viewer to Tweet, ‘Like’ or share its pages), the information NaturalNews offers about humans, health and medication is easy to understand. Natural News is a nonprofit collection of public education websites. It offers multiple ways to explore: video, podcasts, infographics, music and even cartoons. The advertisement-less website also features a lot of “Top Five” or “Top Ten” articles, which is easy on the eyes. 4. National Geographic: Like the New York Times, National Geographic has a lot of professional, top-notch work. It’s almost impossible to miss the top stories on it’s homepage. Nat Geo has the best layout I have ever seen for an online magazine – the photography, video and articles are (dare I say?) flawless. In this way, the explosive amount of information may create a challenge when I am trying to search through the mounds of information.
5. Conservation International: Like most good websites, Conservation International, a nonprofit environmental organization, has a bar where a viewer can find the most viewed, most emailed and highest ranking articles. This organized site offered a lot of media outlets for readers to utilize, similar to NaturalNews. I am cautious about trusting this site completely because some of their links lead users to companies with poor records in environmentalism, such as BP. The organization has also been criticized for not using donors’ money responsibly.
6. Environmental News Network: The front-page story for this website changes by the hour – which is always a good sign to look for. I also was attracted to the editorial page. I think I could find some really interesting discussion points there, especially surrounding a topic that is unusually complicated. Environmental News Network calls themselves “one of the oldest, and most unbiased sources of online environmental news on the web.” They have a RSS feed and a daily e-newsletter.
7. Audubon Magazine: This online publication welcomes a visitor with a large, colorful photo slideshow. The bar at the top has easy-to-understand labels with small pictures to add character to the page. I was especially attracted to a specific tab that examined information solely from the most recently released issue. The one challenge with Audubon Magazine is its extreme focus on birds. While this may be handy sometimes, my focus isn’t just the bird population. I’ll be, ahem, migrating a bit off that topic most times.
8. EMagazine (The Environmental Magazine): This magazine doesn’t only have online content; it has a national audience who receives the publication on recycled paper. While the website has links to help understand difficult passages, this magazine focuses on the softer part of environmental news and does not have as many options or tabs or explore as the other websites. I do not believe this will create a problem, but it is an extra hurdle to overcome to find the “good” material.
9. The Ecologist:With lots of tabs to explore and articles with links to other parts of the site, The Ecologist, founded in 1970, is a well-rounded magazine. One of my favorite things to see were profiles of people around the world who have stood up, usually alone, for the rights of the environment. I have not seen these articles often and I think it is an interesting approach to environmental journalism.
10. Worldwatch Institute: This website offered three pathways for the reader to take: “Climate and Energy,” “Food and Agriculture” and “Environmental and Society.” While this is a logical breakdown of environmental issues, it also creates difficulty as I tried to navigate the website. Thank God for the search bar, or I probably would never find a specific article. Worldwatch Institute publishes an annual report, which is available to the public for free.