Why Sale of National Geographic To Fox Signals Perilous Times For Photojournalism

When the news broke that National Geographic was sold to Rupert Murdoch, fans of the magazine gasped. 

A magazine known for its photo essays paired with reports often based on scientific research being under the control of an outspoken climate change denier worried them.

As a photojournalist, it is to difficult for me to imagine that the sale of National Geographic to Murdoch won’t contribute to the decline of photojournalism, because it is one of the few publications left whose brand is connected to original, visually-oriented content. 

Shortly after the sale was announced, Susan Goldberg, National Geographic’s editor-in-chief, claimed it was a good thing. “It’s great news,” she told the Washington Post. “It’s really a doubling down on our journalism and an investment in our journalism.” She pointed out that the partnership will bring more resources and distribution muscle to National Geographic’s digital and print operations. 

However, Jane Goodall, the naturalist with a long relationship with National Geographic, told the Winnipeg Free Press that at first she thought it was a joke. The news left her dumbfounded: “It is unimaginable. National Geographic being owned almost entirely by climate deniers.”

Congress-backed Interstate Oil Commission Call Cops When Reporter Arrives To Ask About Climate

On October 1, I arrived at the Oklahoma City headquarters of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC)  a congressionally-chartered collective of oil and gas producing states  hoping for an interview.

There to ask IOGCC if it believed human activity (and specifically oil and gas drilling) causes climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, my plans that day came to a screeching halt when cops from the Oklahoma City Police Department rolled up and said that they had received a 9-1-1 call reporting me and my activity as “suspicious” (listen to the audio here). 

What IOGCC apparently didn't tell the cops, though, was that I had already told them via email that I would be in the area that day and would like to do an interview.

EU Countries Failing to Implement European Commission’s ‘Weak’ Fracking Guidelines, Finds Report

The European Commission’s (EC) guidelines on fracking are being criticised as weak and vague, and have been found to be widely ignored by EU member states, according to a report published today.

The report, entitled ‘Fracking Business (as usual)’, is written by Friends of the Earth and Food & Water Europe, and states that the “weak wording” of the guidelines document is to blame for its poor implementation so far.

It also shows that there is little evidence that the 28 member states are using the guidelines “as a basis to build more stringent rules for fracking”. Instead, it argues the Commission’s report has had “no positive impact” on the way states regulate the industry and the measures they have taken to protect their citizens or the environment against any potential negative impacts. 

Report: How Coal and Gas Industry Get Their Way In Fossil Fuel Rich Queensland

abbot point, queensland

Where and how should the public expect negotiations between fossil fuel industries and governments be carried out?

What kind of relationships should exist between fossil fuel corporations and the politicians and public servants who are part of the decision-making process that those corporations seek to influence?

Should reasonable details of those negotiations be recorded and take place in government offices, during office hours? Should lobbying by industry and companies be available for public scrutiny?

When a government awards a licence to dig up and sell fossil fuels, those decisions represent the transfer of assets from public to private hands worth billions of dollars.

With that in mind, you might expect the answers to all those questions to reflect the highest levels of accountability and transparency.

But in Queensland, Australia’s biggest exporter of coal, this accountability and transparency appears to be lacking.

The Australia Institute has published a report – Too close for comfort: How the coal and gas industry get their way in Queensland - detailing the complex interactions between the coal and gas industries in Queensland and the state’s previous governments.

The report, researched and written by me and paid for by the institute, explores some of the close relationships between lobbyists, politicians, public servants and fossil fuel industry executives.

A New Kind of Frackademia? New Environmental Inspectors Offered Free Industry-Funded Classes on Fracking

At an industry conference in Philadelphia last month, oil and gas executives gathered to hear about a little-known public relations effort with a very precise target: newly hired state and federal environmental inspectors.

At a seminar titled “Staying Ahead of Federal and State Regulations: A Partnership with Academia and Government,” officials from Pennsylvania State University and the University of Texas described how gifts from companies like ExxonMobil allowed their universities, along with the Colorado School of Mines, to offer state regulators free classes on oil industry best practices, travel and accommodations included.

Watch DeSmog’s Justin Mikulka Interviewed on ‘Ring of Fire’ About Risky Crude Oil Trains

Following up on several recent articles and a video explaining how the risks of Bakken oil “bomb trains” will continue to endanger communities across North America for years to come despite new regulations


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