The New York Times and A.P. Can Do Better

Here are two small clues that explain the decline of the relevance of Big Media. The New York Times ran a story Monday, “Climate Change May Hurt Asian Economies,” from the Associated Press. The story opens:

Hotter temperatures and higher sea levels could devastate Asian economies, displace millions of people and put millions more at risk from infectious disease, according to a climate change report released Monday.

I have kept the NYT’s original web-link, which goes not to the report, but to their extensive reporting on climate change. This is a standard for the Times, but relatively useless for savvy online readers who have no difficulty whatsoever finding extensive background on the subject of climate change but are actually interested in the study.

And this brings me to my second complaint. If you read this story, you will have a great deal of difficulty finding the report online, since they never mention who actually sponsored it. The second paragraph states:

Global temperatures will rise by up to 4 degrees by 2030, particularly in the arid regions of northern Pakistan, India and China, predicted the report, conducted by Australia’s main research agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.

But if you google that agency and go to their web site, www.csiro.au, you will probably be as surprised as I was that there is no mention of any such report.  And that’s because the research was led by Ben Preston, a research scientist at CSIRO, but the research was done for the Australian Climate Change & Development Roundtable [CCDR] — a fact that the article never mentions. So you would have to spend some time with Google sorting this all-out. If you do, you will find that a great many other journalists are also confused about who did this report: ABC news online says [incorrectly] there is a two-part report from CSIRO.

To find the report — and the executive summary and the mystery second report (which is not at all by CSIRO) — go to www.ccdr.org.au and click on Reports.

This is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but does go to show that most blogs probably have higher standards or more usefulness (or both) on these matters than Big Media.