Lindsay Abrams – Assistant Editor, Salon.com
As general concern and awareness of basic environmental issues have risen, so has consumer interest in the topic. Concepts like sustainability have become ubiquitous and Salon.com has responded in kind with a newly developed Sustainability vertical. Launched in August, this vertical covers a breadth of topics, such as transportation, sustainable practices and green living oddities. Spearheading the project is assistant editor Lindsay Abrams, who joined Salon.com in July.
“Salon readers were showing a lot of interest in sustainability issues,” Abrams said. “We feel this is an important topic that warrants in-depth coverage.”
Part of Abrams’ coverage includes weighty topics like natural disasters and controversial policies, but she also makes an effort to cover the sustainability beat from a lifestyle perspective. As a self-professed vegetarian and bike commuter, she hopes to strike a chord with readers who view sustainability as more than just a news story.
“For a lot of people, myself included, climate change and other sustainability issues can seem very abstract,” she said. “I think it will be an exciting challenge to show people how these things are impacting their lives.”
While high demand for environmental journalism prompted the Sustainability vertical, Abrams thinks an oversaturation of certain subtopics might make it difficult to keep readers’ attention.
“Keeping the section engaging, beyond just reminding people that global warming is real and needs to be prevented, might be a challenge,” she said. “I want to find new angles on the old stories. I also want to be able to convey a sense of urgency without being preachy.”
For Abrams, potential new angles might include “alternate takes on climate and energy issues, innovations that are addressing common problems, or the perspectives of people we don’t normally hear from.”
Although more people are beginning to acknowledge environmental and climate change issues, the topic remains contentious and fiercely partisan. While Abrams does not see the vertical as having a political message, she admits that divorcing politics from any discussion of sustainability is not easy.
“I think that unfortunately, it’s hard to write about the environment without seeming like you have a political slant,” she said. “Obviously, we’ll call out politicians who make unfounded claims denying climate change, and cover the way various administrations are working (or not) to promote sustainable practices. While, yes, I will post videos of conservative climate change deniers, I pay a lot of attention to what scientists are saying, and try to remain as objective as possible.”
Abrams received her bachelor’s in anthropology from Wesleyan University in 2012 and can trace her journalism roots all the way back to high school. She credits a yearlong fellowship at The Atlantic as particularly influential in her fledgling career.
“I found my love for journalism in high school, when I edited our school newspaper,” she said. “I’m still close with our advisor, and she really inspired me to pursue this path. Last year, I had an editorial fellowship with TheAtlantic.com – it’s where I learned everything I know about online writing.”
Looking forward, Abrams hopes to approach the sustainability beat with a tincture of optimism – a contrast to the typically severe coverage circulating elsewhere.
“One thing I have noticed is that there’s a lot of coverage of ways in which things are going wrong – it would be great to use our vertical to also highlight places where we’re improving, and to call attention to the people who are making those efforts.”
Abrams prefers to be pitched via email.
Although happy to receive samples, she generally does not cover products or consumer goods. She welcomes pitches that include opportunities for interviews.
She does make an effort to read the pitches she receives, even though she cannot respond to them all. “If I don’t respond, it means I’m not interested,” she said. “My pet peeve would be PR reps who follow-up repeatedly.”
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