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Earth Day... again?

Monday, April 23, 2007

We used to call them MEGO stories: My Eyes Glaze Over.

For reporters, stories marking holidays and anniversaries are among the most dreaded assignments in the newsroom, right up there with the weather and the interview with the nursing home resident who's still spry at 111. What can you say about Valentine's Day, Halloween or the 50th annniversary of a big tornado that hasn't already been said?

Unfortunately, the Earth Day story is often a MEGO. Too many of the Earth Day stories that ran over the past weekend fit a tired pattern: Environmentalism, once a fringe countercultural movement, has gone mainstream, with everyone from oil companies to corner coffee shops taking up the cause. Green is cool. It's everywhere, influencing the arts, entertainment, fashion, religion, education, restaurants, travel, sports. Lots of celebrities are green. Al Gore made a movie about it. There's more than one kind of green. Here's what you can do to help.

From this year's digital stack of Earth Day clippings, here are a couple of hard-hitting exceptions all the more welcome coming from California, where it lately seems like the only environmental story considered worth covering involves a cigar-smoking, Hummer-driving politician. Both are multimedia packages that show how well suited environmental reporting is to the new technology of online journalism.

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