Media Fellow Juliet Eilperin Discusses Challenges in Environmental Reporting

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"The stakes are very high," said Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post reporter, in her talk January 6 titled "Searching for Clarity in the Midst of a Spin Storm: Covering the Environment in the Nation's Capitol." In her third visit to the Hoover Institution as a media fellow, Eilperin, discussed her new beat—reporting on the environment—and the difficulties in obtaining accurate information at the luncheon where she was the featured speaker.

As a Washington, D.C., native, Eilperin grew up immersed in politics. After graduating from Princeton University in 1992, she spent the next 10 years covering politics. Before joining the Washington Post in 1998, she covered politics and economics for an English-language magazine in Seoul, South Korea, on a Luce Scholarship and wrote for States News Service and Roll Call newspaper. After having covered a political beat for so long, she decided that she needed a change, which led her to focus on environmental issues.

Her transition to environmental reporting has had its share of challenges, for, she said, covering the environment is just as controversial as covering politics. Another concern she discussed is that, due to cutbacks on fact-checking at print and broadcast outlets, reporters need to rely on people to give them accurate information. When she researches to confirm facts she is provided (by politicians and environmentalist alike) she often finds that their "facts" are wrong or misleading. The need for accuracy is significant because, as Eilperin said, "information affects public policy."

The Media Fellows Program allows print and broadcast media professionals to spend time in residence at the Hoover Institution. Media fellows have the opportunity to exchange information and perspectives with Hoover scholars through seminars and informal meetings and with the Hoover and Stanford communities in public lectures. As fellows, they have the full range of research tools the Hoover offers available to them.

More than 100 of the nation's top journalists have visited the Hoover Institution recently and interacted with Hoover fellows on key public policy issues, including

  • Jonathan Kay, National Post (Canada) (in residence at Hoover January 10–15)
  • John Fensterwald, San Jose Mercury News (January 10–14)
  • Amy Finnerty, freelance journalist (January 11–14).