Perhaps the American Association of Port Authorities’ criticism that the government treats invasive species as a regional, rather than international, problem applies to the press as well. As always, there has been a healthy dose of recent reporting on invasive species. At the end of September, Newsday ran an article about the hunt for invasive sea squirts in Long Island Sound. This week, the Orange County Register in Southern California printed a story about the appearance of brown widows, a South American cousin of the local black widow. They are both examples of good environmental stories, and worth reading. But the Journal Sentinel, which just ran a long series on Asian carp in the Great Lakes (again by Dan Egan), was one of the few to widen the scope of its reporting.
Historically, the American press has been relentless about following the proliferation of invasive species and tracking their migrations from foreign lands. Reporters have also chronicled the intrusion of native U.S. creatures abroad. Those stories are fun, with built-in exotic appeal. Now, as popular calls to regulate ballast water are beginning to produce action, the press needs to be more critical of these less exciting, but ultimately more important, efforts to produce change.