Emerson Journalist-in-Residence Doug Struck led a six month investigation into carbon offsets involving more than 22 reporters and editors, including students Katy Jordan, MA '10, and Tom Smith '11. The multimedia results appeared in a six-page cover story in the April 26 Christian Science Monitor weekly magazine, and an online version aired on WGBH Radio.
The project was an experiment with some of the “new models” of journalism, Struck said. It was partially financed by the Deer Creek Foundation and involved a joint effort between the nonprofit New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University, The Monitor's foreign and domestic staff, and Emerson College students and staff.
The report titled “Blowing Smoke,” covered five continents, documented a fledgling industry with problems ranging from fraud to confusion, and showed that consumers seeking to offset their carbon footprint often are misled.
Jordan, a print journalism major, helped report on the project and wrote one of the sidebars to the main piece, while Smith, who is majoring in documentary production, edited the video that accompanies the story on the website. Struck led the project, wrote the main story, and did video reporting from Hungary.
“I think the students learned about big projects; I learned a lot in pulling it together,” said Struck. “We accomplished some investigative journalism that would not otherwise have been possible in the shrinking newsrooms of today.”