A former senior News Limited journalist has described trying to write about human-induced climate change at The Australian newspaper as “torture” and has blamed the editor-in-chief for limiting coverage on the topic because he has “taken a political view”.
Asa Wahlquist mounted an off-the-cuff defence of environmental reporting on a panel at yesterday’s journalism educators conference in Sydney, explaining the difficulties of having stories published about climate change because of the attitude of and pressure from senior editors at the paper.
Chris Mitchell apparently felt that these remarks needed more publicity, so the Australian reports:
The Australian’s editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell, said he will sue journalism academic and prolific twitter user Julie Posetti for defamation.
This follows Posetti’s tweet yesterday from a journalism conference at the University of Technology Sydney in which Posetti quoted The Australian’s former rural reporter Asa Walhquist as allegedly saying “in the lead up to the election the Ed in Chief was increasingly telling me what to write”.
Mitchell rejects the allegation and Walhquist has also denied it, saying she has never spoken to Mitchell about climate change.
You can see the tweet here
Note that you don’t have to speak to someone in person to tell them something.
for the record, I have not been contacted by The Australian for comment via email, phone or Twitter
The story in The Australian continues
Mitchell adds he is proud of the paper’s environmental coverage.
Walhquist responded to Mitchell she had been quoted inaccurately and taken out of context and adding that “I do not think twitters from unnamed third parties should be regarded as an accurate news source. As a journalist I would never rely on information from such a source.”
Indeed. The Australian considers the most accurate news source on the science of sea level change to be a random person they find on the beach.
Hat tip: James Haughton.
Update: Posetti blogs:
All I am personally permitted to say on the issue at this stage is the following: “My University has not received any communication from Mr Mitchell and I have been asked not to comment further on the detail of what transpired until we know what allegations are being made against me and the University and have had an opportunity to take legal advice.”