Thus the whole thing comes off seeming a bit gimmicky. I say this not to add insult to injury, but because I, too, have used this very gimmick. As a student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism last year, I turned in an article very similar to “The Pollution Within.” Ironically, it was based on the EWG’s release of “Skin Deep,” a massive online database that catalogues toxic substances in a mind-boggling number of consumer hygiene products. I cleared out my medicine cabinet and looked up some 20 creams, gels and lotions one by one. My scheme, though far less costly than Duncan’s, produced the same result. I threw away some Neutrogena after-shave, but could do little more than recount the public information on toxicity already out there. My editor agreed that it seemed contrived — his comments on my draft amounted to “So what?” So what, indeed. Maybe I’m just bitter that I’ve now been scooped, ex-post facto, by another, very capable journalist.
Clarification: The above post has been changed to show that the name of National Geographic’s environment editor is Dennis Dimick, not David.