But rumblings in the Reuters newsroom signal that the most recent dip in climate coverage is accompanied by a shift in editorial angle. I spoke on background to several journalists working at Reuters, who said that since Ingrassia was hired, they’ve felt pressure from management to add “balance” to climate change stories by including the views of global-warming skeptics. “I’m really glad someone outside the company is looking into this,” said one staffer who did not wish to be identified. “I think this is the most worrying thing any of us have seen here.”

In the last six months, Reuters has caught flack for a few pieces of climate-change journalism that critics say overreach or skew the science by inserting comments from climate-change skeptics. Earlier this month, the newswire covered a study out of the Potsdam Institute projecting the rate at which the sea level will rise with each degree of global temperature increase. Midway through the article the writer, Erik Kirschbaum, inserts a skeptical modifier:

Climate sceptics, however, say the evidence is unconvincing. Measurements of changing temperatures are unreliable, contradictory and unsupported by solid historic data, they say. They question the accuracy of computer climate forecasts and point to historic, cyclical changes in the world’s temperature as evidence that global temperature changes are natural. Others say the evidence shows temperatures have stopped rising and that the sun plays a bigger role than human activities.
He fails to mention, however, that these views are have little to no standing in scientific literature. (He also fails to quote sources or cite additional evidence, which is just poor journalism.) Kirschbaum declined to comment on the story.

Last April Reuters published “Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown,” an explainer on the gradual decrease of surface-temperature warming; a phenomenon, the piece implied, that was leading scientists to doubt global warming statistics.

“But warming is speeding up and scientists can explain it,” responded Dana Nuccitelli in the Guardian. Surface temperature has continued to rise slowly because more of this heat is being captured in warming oceans, explained Nuccitelli, an enviornmental scientist who contributes regularly to the website Skeptical Science. Looking at the temperature of the earth as a whole, over a long period of time, global warming has actually accelerated:

“When people say ‘no warming in 15 years’, they’re cherry picking the timeframe to begin in an abnormally hot year. It’s like arguing that your car must have broken down because it hasn’t moved in the 15 seconds while you’ve been stopped at a red light.

Doyle, who authored the sea rise article, only sourced a single scientist for the piece, an ice specialist, quoted briefly at the end of the piece. But a week earlier, Doyle had published an article on ocean heat capture, the established explanation for slowed warming that he excluded in the later piece. Doyle declined to comment on either story.

A Reuters spokesperson wrote that the company has not changed their editorial stance, and offered the following statement:
“Reuters covers climate change closely both as a scientific and public-safety issue, as well as the impact of climate change on businesses, the economy and the markets. We have a dedicated staff, including a team of specialist reporters at Point Carbon and a columnist, who all generate significant coverage on the topic across our various platforms.

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Alexis Sobel Fitts is a senior writer at CJR. Follow her on Twitter at @fittsofalexis.