A Message to Environmental Journalists

First of all let’s start things off on the right foot. My name is Gavin and I am here to be a resource to you. Despite what you may have read or heard from environmental extremists the seafood community wants a clean, safe, healthy environment for our kids to grow up in too. We, like most people, would like to see less pollution and more blue skies.

But there’s something else we’d like to see more of too, I’ll get to that momentarily. In a posting on the Society of Environmental Journalists Web site it was noted that a recent story claims, “[The] National Fisheries Institute [NFI] comes down hard on reporters who try to tell the story [about mercury in tuna.]”

I have to disagree with that characterization and I’ll tell you why. NFI does not come down hard on reporters who try to tell the mercury story. Mercury in fish exists, there’s no conspiracy to conceal that. But NFI does come down on fear mongering pseudo-journalists who take everything environmental extremists say as gospel without bothering to do their homework. For them we do in fact insist on accountability-if accountability is “coming down hard” on someone then so-be-it. I didn’t think hard-nosed, muckraking reporters were so thin skinned. Perhaps for some it’s a shock to the system when they’re held to the standards of fairness, balance and accuracy that the forth estate was built on.

If you don’t know what I mean ask the New York Times or recently the Winston-Salem Journal. Believe them when they tell you it’s a whole lot easier to educate yourself about a topic and present the full story than it is to issue corrections or watch as your paper’s public editor tells your readership about how your reporting “missed” and didn’t live up to its standards.

I write all this to say we’d like to see more honest, well-informed writing on the topic of seafood. Whatever the focus, make sure all agendas are checked at the door and dive right in. Educate yourself. And for those of you who need to, take a break from the notion that the black helicopters of big business and bigger brother are swooping in with a payload of misinformation.

Remember, my name is Gavin and I am here to be a resource to you.