The New Green Lady

When The New York Times redesigned its website in 2005, drastically improving its appearance and accessibility, it sent a signal that the paper of record was committed to journalism on the Internet. Two years later, its site remains one of the best-looking and easiest-to-use of any major newspaper. Between ending the ill-conceived TimesSelect program and better integrating blogs and multimedia, the Times has demonstrated that it might stumble on the way to the web, but it's getting there. Fortunately for readers concerned about how humans are helping and harming the earth, the paper's online growth has included an expansive home for green reporting on the web, edging out the competition in terms of depth and breadth of coverage.

That's not to say the Times is the only broadsheet that's found the resources in their depleted newsroom rosters and payrolls to get the green beat online. The Christian Science Monitor has a page on its site devoted to coverage of global warming, as well as commentary, video features, and tools to help readers understand the issue. The Washington Post, too, does a fair job of putting together its own page on the subject, although the information strains against the paper's outdated website design, and The Los Angeles Times maintains a frequently updated destination  for green journalism as well.

But sadly for the underdogs, the Old Grey Lady has them beat. For starters, the long-standing "environment" tab in the Times' science section includes all the paper's thorough but lucid reporting from journalists like Felicity Barringer and Andy Revkin. But the Times goes beyond that, taking advantage of multimedia extras like an environmental news blog that launched last month and links to previous eco-related features. There's a video series called "Planet Us," and a page called "The Business of Green" that adds to the general uptick in green business reporting with stories about the intersection of environmentalism and commerce. Of course, the Times' coverage isn't perfect, and it's important that enviro-journalism not be limited to the single issue of global warming or ghettoized into overlooked corners of the paper (as opposed to overflowing into more traditional beats). But here's hoping the Times' clear commitment to green reporting will challenge other papers to follow its lead or, even better, surpass it.