December 10, 2011

A Few Comments on the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN) I'm pleased to announce that this week the Food & Environment Reporting Network launched. I've been working on this a non-profit journalism venture quiety for some time (two or more years), and now serve as editor. It grew out of an impromptu discussion with several people into an organization with a staff, board and editorial advisory board. Our launch coincided with the publication of our first story in High Country News, an award-winning Western magazine which collaborated with us on the piece. We're supported in this work by several foundations who believe in our vision of producing stories on food, agriculture and environmental health at a time when interest in those areas is growing but in-depth coverage is waning. In our model, we work closely with reporters and media partners so that these stories can see the light of day. We also have a code of ethics that governs our work. Now, you might wonder, why not just start a blog? Well, blogs are good models, but what we have in mind is traditional reporting: sending a reporter into the field on an in-depth investigation and giving them the chance to really look into a story. This kind of work is expensive and often falls through the cracks in the rush of the 24-hour news cycle. If you're tied to a blog, this work is especially tough. Our first story is a clear example of how this works. Reporter Stephanie Paige Ogburn went down to New Mexico to look into...

Sam Fromartz

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