NPR has cut back on the number of staffers focused solely on the environment and climate change.
Earlier this year, the news outlet had three full-time reporters and one editor dedicated to covering the issue within NPR’s science desk. One remains—and he is covering it only part-time. A few reporters on other desks occasionally cover the topic as well.
The move to shift reporters off the environment beat was driven by an interest to cover other fields more in depth, said Anne Gudenkauf, senior supervising editor of NPR’s science desk.
“We’ll think of a project we want to do and the kind of staff that we need to do it, and then organize ourselves that way,” she said. “One of the things we always do is change in response to the changing world.”
Gudenkauf also said she doesn’t “feel like [the environment] necessarily requires dedicated reporters” because so many other staffers cover the subject, along with their other beats.
Richard Harris, widely known as NPR’s climate science guru (he has reported on international treaty talks since 1992), started covering biomedicine in March. Elizabeth Shogren, who largely focused on the Environmental Protection Agency, is no longer at NPR. Vikki Valentine, the team’s editor, is now lead editor for the outlet’s global health and development coverage, which includes a new project launched this summer using a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Reporter Chris Joyce, a 21-year veteran of NPR, remains.