Media News

NY Times taps Tabuchi to cover pollution and environmental costs

May 16, 2024

Posted by Chris Roush

Hiroko Tabuchi
Hiroko Tabuchi

Hannah Fairfield, the climate editor at The New York Times, sent out the following announcement:

We’re thrilled to announce a new beat for Hiroko Tabuchi, building on her many years in Climate doing some of our most creative investigative, feature-writing and visual journalism.

Hiroko will be focusing on pollution and environmental costs, helping readers understand environmental effects and tradeoffs, particularly as humanity tries to pivot away from fossil fuel use. The beat brings together the world’s growing reliance on plastics and the challenges of recycling, the risks of water pollution whether as microplastics or PFAS chemicals, the lobbying efforts for and against regulatory changes around toxic chemicals, as well as the scientific and technological search for solutions.

This is a newsy beat with creative opportunities for the full range of reporting: news, scoops, features, investigative and explanatory writing. It’s also an area of coverage that requires not only aggressive digging, but also a sophisticated understanding of issues where there may be no perfect answer, as well as a storytelling sensibility, and Hiroko brings all of that. Her recent Great Read, based on a day spent with two close friends who disagree deeply about how their climate work should be paid for, is a model for a narrative of this kind. She has written exposés on the oil industry’s secretive strategy to flood African nations with plastic goods, and on the truth behind “vegan leather.” This visual investigation exposing huge, invisible methane leaks in Texas was technologically groundbreaking. And she has a practiced eye for the surprising, as shown in this piece on Japan’s upside-down strawberry business.

Hiroko will be starting immediately. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

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