Herald Bulletin creates an environmental news beat

Scott Underwood column: THB develops environmental reporting beat

  • By Scott Underwood | The Herald Bulletin
  • Jul 11, 2016

Agricultural practices. Air pollution. Invasive species. Land use. Recycling. Water quality. Wind farms.

Our lives and the world around us are constantly changing as issues affecting the environment evolve. To address these concerns, The Herald Bulletin is devoting more resources to environmental reporting.

A few months ago, we began publishing a weekly column, “On Nature,” written by founders of the Heart of the River Coalition. These columns, published Mondays, seek to inform the community about the natural world around us. (Look for Carol Emmert’s “On Nature” column in today’s newspaper and at heraldbulletin.com.)

To push our reporting significantly forward, we’ve created a beat to cover the environment. Staff reporter Christopher Stephens has been assigned to that beat. Look for his article about wind farm rezoning in The Herald Bulletin this coming weekend and more reporting from him on environmental topics as summer marches toward fall.

Our reporting on the environment is part of an effort by the 13 Hoosier newspapers in our company, Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. (CNHI), to develop beats that address readers’ common interests and concerns across Indiana.

The two other beats are health care and education. While The Herald Bulletin takes the lead in environmental reporting, the Kokomo Tribune will spearhead the statewide health care beat and the Terre Haute Tribune-Star will take on statewide education reporting. These articles, coming in a weekly rotation, will be part of a continuing “Indiana In-Depth” reporting effort.

In addition to the environment beat, Stephens also covers the business beat and towns in the (roughly) southern Madison County area, including Edgewood, Ingalls, Lapel, Markleville and Pendleton.

Here’s a rundown of our other reporters’ beats, some of which have changed recently:

• Rebecca Bibbs has moved to the local education beat and will also cover cities and towns in the (roughly) northern Madison County area, including Alexandria, Chesterfield, Daleville, Elwood, Frankton and Summitville.

• Ken de la Bastide reports on Anderson city and Madison County government and is our lead reporter on politics and news out of state and federal government.

• Kelly Dickey reports on features, entertainment and lifestyles topics.

• Devan Filchak covers health and social issues, and is our lead reporter on police, fire and emergency response news most mornings.

• Stu Hirsch has moved to the public safety beat, meaning he’s our lead reporter on courts, as well as police, fire and emergency response news most afternoons and evenings.

All of our reporters focus on their beats, developing articles that lend insight into trends and issues. But each is also a general assignment reporter; they tackle the news of the day and routinely fill in for reporters on other beats.

If you have story ideas for any of our beats, don’t hesitate to contact our reporters. All of their email addresses are first name.last name@heraldbulletin.com. Or you can send your story ideas to me, whether they relate to the environment or any other subject matter of local concern.

Editor Scott Underwood’s column appears Mondays. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @THBeditor. Contact him at scott.underwood@heraldbulletin.com or 640-4845.