the kicker

OnEarth eliminates print

The science mag's editors say sticking to digital will allow them to devote more resources to environmental journalism
April 11, 2014

Back in February we praised OnEarth, the editorial arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council, for using its website to publish original longform with the type of polish usually reserved for print. In an announcement today from editors Doug Barasch and Scott Dodd, they said that OnEarth is eliminating its quarterly print publication to focus all its resources on digital work:

We remain committed to publishing powerful, engaging stories in bold new ways that we believe can reach more readers than ever. And we think the most effective way to do that is through innovative digital formats that don’t require spending a huge chunk of our budget on paper, postage, and printing–a change that seems only appropriate for a publication dedicated to preserving earth’s resources.

OnEarth’s digital version will dedicate each monthly issue to exploring many facets of a single environmental topic with the same kind of depth, rigor, and originality that our readers have come to expect. At the same time, we’ll increase our daily coverage of environmental health, science, and policy in a way that’s lively, irreverent, and–oh yeah–tells readers what really matters to their lives and what they can do about it.

While OnEarth’s website had amped up its feature well, the magazine has been a rare source of thoughtful, deeply reported enviornmental stories–like this Florence Williams cover story from November on the effects of leeching chemicals on developing brains. The now-digital magazine plans to reallocate its print costs to fund more enterprising journalism; and, while editors intend to add more aggregated content, they say that the site will still focus on the kind of richly reported environmental journalism OnEarth is known for. Hopefully they’ll stick to their word, and going all-digital will just provide more opportunities.

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