If a paper printing, laptop obsessed industry can make changes, anyone can
BY KYLE HOVANEC FOR GREENING OF OIL
The field of journalism is usually one the last career fields thought of when it comes to being eco-friendly. With their excessive use of paper and paper products, constant travel and constant power usage it seems like more harm than good is being done. While the field of journalism may not the most eco friendly, they are certainly doing their part to improve the planet.
Environmentally conscious journalism practices are on the rise and the changes being made are fairly significant.
For major journalism outlets, travel is the largest culprit to higher emissions whether it’s by air or land. It’s a catch 22 though, as travel is necessary for nearly any journalist in order to properly cover different stories and get closer to the people and the issues around them.
However, one problem reported by journalism institutions suggests that many stories and articles can in fact be done with less travel. Some simpler interviews could be done with a phone call or email. Many articles can in fact be written with research and remote work. When travel is necessary to cover a story, simple precautions before taking off can save a journalist significant travel time and ensure a greener travel. Self-proclaimed green journalists say they make sure to ask the right questions and make interviews as thorough and as complete as possible, reducing the need for follow up trips. If any follow up questions need to be asked, they usually can be done through phone or email.
When traveling by land, major journalism organizations have begun to put environmental policies into place. BBC uses nearly 95 percent renewable energy for its UK operations. They also use shuttle busses and cab-share schemes to reduce emissions, and have been claimed to recycle up to 40 percent of the waste it creates. The common equipment that many journalists use including laptops, cell phones, and computers have also been addressed and small steps have been put into place to reduce emissions electronically as well. Journalists are asked to turn off their electronics such as cell phones and laptops when not in use. New display monitors have recently been unveiled and have been proven to be extremely eco friendly, made without mercury, brominated flame-retardants, and polyvinyl chloride to ensure less emissions released and that materials can be recycled. These monitors consume nearly 50 percent less power than previous models and even come packaged in 100 percent recyclable cardboard.
As for the simpler material such as paper, recycled paper is an alternative to standard paper. While some journalism institutions have begun using this paper, the rate of adoption is somewhat slow, primarily due to costs.
Digital and social media also play a role in helping to make the planet greener. Many journalists and environmentalists use social media clients such as Twitter and its use of hashtags to promote different eco friendly stories and tips. These can range anywhere from simple steps to reduce automobile emissions to stories involving the cleanup of the environment – and many of these tips and stories never make it to more mainstream news sites or news groups. Besides major journalism outlets there are plenty of blogs and individuals who utilize the internet to promote their green friendly plans and ideas as well. Over the past few years citizen journalism has taken on a much more prominent role in the way we receive and spread information, making it easier for individuals to learn more and for citizen journalists and professional journalists alike to spread tips and information.
Journalism, like many other fields, has begun to take steps to help the environment. Journalism presents quite a challenge with its constant use of electronics, paper and travel. But despite these production necessities, journalism is still making an effort to reduce emissions and cut down on its effects on the environment. If a career field that practically thrives on travel, electronics and paper usage can try to help the environment, anyone else can too.
Links of interest
Environmental impact of travel
Environmentally friendly LED displays
About Kyle Hovanec
Kyle Hovanec is a junior level student attending Ball State University in Muncie Indiana. He’s majoring in magazine journalism and minoring in English. Kyle is also the president of Ball State’s multicultural organization AASA, or Asian American Student Association and is responsible for the leadership and organization of AASA.
Kyle has writing experience in magazine writing, news reporting, news video editing and script writing. He has experience working with his university’s newspaper, news room, and magazine as well. He has helped with several Ball State film productions by being a writer, editor, and actor.
Contact Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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