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Oceans: Study says sharks get a bad rap from media

Sensationalized shark attack stories favored by mass media outlets

A great white shark in California coastal waters. Photo courtesy NOAA.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Sharks have always been seen as the big, bad wolves of the sea, and despite their critical ecological role as apex predators, they’ve been treated especially harshly by the media.

A new study by Michigan State University researchers shows that the mass media — especially in the U.S. and Australia — favor scare stories about shark attacks over coverage of shark-related conservation issues.

Allowing such articles to dominate the overall news coverage diverts attention from key issues, like declining global shark populations and the risk of extinction, said Meredith Gore, MSU assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife and the School of Criminal Justice. Continue reading

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Opinion: Global warming comes out of the closet

The remnants of Sandy swirl over the Northeast in the NASA satellite image.

Hurricane Sandy spurs awareness of  links between climate change and extreme weather

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Along with devastating New Jersey’s shoreline and flooding big chunks of New York City, Hurricane Sandy also pushed the public dialogue about climate change out of the musty closet and right smack into the middle of polite dinner table conversation and, even more importantly, into the political arena, just days before the presidential election.

After a couple of days surveying the damage, both the mayor of New York City and the governor of New York directly addressed the issue in a social and political context. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, factored climate change into a political endorsement of Barack Obama as the candidate better equipped to tackle the issue.

“In In just 14 months, two hurricanes have forced us to evacuate neighborhoods — something our city government had never done before. If this is a trend, it is simply not sustainable,” Bloomberg wrote in an editorial for the Bloomberg View. Continue reading

Climate theater (of the absurd)

Yes, it’s getting warmer.

PBS criticized for featuring a global warming denier with no scientific credibility

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Public television is the the scapegoat in one of the latest climate capers, as the network’s popular NewsHour program recently broadcast a segment on global warming prominently featureing a fringe, self-described weather expert as a spokesman for the global warming denier movement. Watch the segment here.

The segment started harmlessly enough, with an interview of physicist Richard Muller, who recently claimed conversion from global warming denier status. The interview then whirled off into the realm of the surreal, with a lengthy one-on-one segment with non-scientists Anthony Watts, who publishes a blog that’s become a rallying point and last bastion of sorts for the small minority of Americans who still think global warming is a hoax and/or a conspiracy by scientists to get more research funding. Continue reading

Global warming deniers new tactic: Shoot the messenger

Temperatures are off the charts this year. NASA graphic.

Handful of below-average temps spurs frantic activity on denier website

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Global warming deniers have always been good at cherry picking data to try and prove that that Earth isn’t warming inexorably, and to the likely detriment of most species on the planet.

This week, the denier website Watts Up With That took the schtick to a whole new level with a post highlighting a handful of low temperature records in recent days. The post carefully avoided making the claim that those readings somehow disprove global warming — that would, of course, demolish any last shred of credibility that might still linger with the increasingly outlandish denier arguments.

Instead, the post took issue with media coverage of climate issues, charging that the mainstream media would ignore the localized low temperature records after having played up the long string of record highs spanning several months and covering much of the country. Continue reading

Op-ed: Climate science debate hits local media

Bob Berwyn.

Local gadfly called out for using ‘libelous language, lies and distortion’ on climate science

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The national discourse over climate science and global warming took a local twist recently, as a local resident was called out for his commentary published in the Vail Daily trying to convince readers that global warming is not caused by human activities.

Long-time Copper Mountain resident Martin Hertzberg  has frequently penned opinion pieces and letters to the editor that are full of misleading statements, inaccuracies and distortions,  presenting them all as scientific fact. Continue reading

Media: FCC holds hearing on community info needs

The FCC will discuss local online media at an Oct. 3 hearing.

Local media stakeholders advocate for a shift in federal advertising dollars

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Acknowledging breathtaking progress in the realm of information technology, a recent Federal Communications Commission working group report concluded that those changes in the media landscape have resulted in significant deficits in local news coverage.

In some cases, there are “alarming tendencies to allow advertisers to dictate content,” the report found, concluding that the independent watchdog function that the founding fathers envisioned for journalism is at risk. Continue reading

New Twitter tool for WordPress blogs

Summit Voice editor Bob Berwyn is loving the new Twitter integration with WordPress.

Twitter ‘Blackbird Pie’ lets you embed tweets directly in posts and maintain active links

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — If you publish a WordPress blog, you’re probably also on Twitter, and while there has already been some good integration between the two platforms, WordPress now lets you embed tweets directly in your posts, where they appear the way they look in your Twitter stream with Twitter Blackbird Pie.

The embedded tweets retain all their functionality, including the links within the tweets, so readers can click from the displayed messages to the original source.

If, for example, you’re writing a WordPress blog post about the after-effects of the Gulf oil disaster, you could do a Twitter search for #oilspill to find the latest relevant Tweets.

Then you simply embed the url of the tweet in its own separate line in the WordPress.com text box. To find the url, click on the time stamp at the bottom of the tweet.

Here’s a couple of examples:

and …

Mainstream media called out on global warming story

Scientist group says it's not launching a political counter-attack to Congressional global warming skeptics.

Scientist group says LA Times misrepresented purpose of a climate-science communications program

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A professional association of scientists is sparring with the mainstream media over what it says is a mischaracterization of a new climate-science communications project.

In a press release, the American Geophysical Union said its about-to-be relaunched Climate Q&A Service is not intended to be the focal point of a campaign against congressional global warming skeptics, as was reported by the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune and other sources. Here is a link to the LA Times story, which was repeated in scores of places on the web during the weekend. Continue reading

Skiing mag launches new online-only version

Powder at A-Basin, Colorado.

Digital magazine includes interactive features on every page, with a vintage A-Basin slideshow in the first edition

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Amidst all the discussion about the future of print journalism, some magazines are not hanging on to the good old days, but are charging into the digital age without looking back.

Skiing Magazine, long a mainstay on magazine racks, is one of them. The print edition is no more; instead, owner Bonnier Corporation this week launched an ambitious interactive digital version that includes among its features a vintage slide show from Arapahoe Basin, along with playful interactive graphs comparing snowfall and terrain at popular resorts and even an interactive Epic Pass ad that allows readers to pick the pass best suited to them by adjusting on-screen sliders. Continue reading

Taking it to the airwaves: Summit Voice on public radio

Summit Voice editor and founder Bob Berwyn with his girlfriend, Copper Condos owner Leigh Wadden, doing what they do best — taking in the view from the Ljubjlana Castle.

Ask your questions about online journalism; call-in show on Mountain Public Radio in Summit County will stream live on the web

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Long before there was Twitter, Facebook or even the internet, there was talk radio. You could even think of it as an early version of “social media,” with the host as a verbal blogger, and call-in guests making comments on the topic of the day.

There are some great things about radio. You can listen while you drive or while you’re in the shower or bathtub — try that with your iPad or laptop (although I’m sure it’s been done, at least the bath option).

So when Alpine Earth Center owner Jon Harrington called and asked if I would join him on Mountain Public Radio for his half-hour morning show this Saturday, Oct. 15,  I said, “Sure, why not.” Continue reading


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