When it eliminated its standalone blog covering climate change and dismantledits special reporting unit on the environment earlier this year, the New York Times promised that its commitment to both topics was as strong as ever. But Margaret Sullivan, the paper's public editor, wrote on Sunday that the Times has not fulfilled that promise in recent months.
Sullivan and an assistant found that, in her words, both "the quantity" and "the amount of deep, enterprising coverage of climate change in The Times" had dropped since the Times shuttered its Green blog and reintegrated its reporting into the broader paper.
This appears to confirm the fears of outside observers, who worried that the Times was pulling back on the topic at a time when climate change coverage is perhaps more important than ever before.
"The editors of the Times have perhaps forgotten that they work on an island, and that the entrance to their building is not too far above sea level," one editor wrote in March.
Sullivan said that people like Al Gore still had kind words for the paper's coverage, and that new environmental reporters were being hired, but she added that the Times had been "fragmented, if not rudderless" in its handling of the beat.