Female reporters crucial in environmental journalism, professor says
By Kay Dee Johansen
"Early on, women have been writing about their observations of nature," said Dr. JoAnn Valenti, a communications professor at BYU, in her lecture, "Environmental Journalism: What's Gender Got to Do With It?"
"Women see nature as female, feel her power, and nurture her. Men also see nature as female, but want to conquer her," she said. "My question is, don't we need both perspectives?" Valenti asked.
According to Valenti, a founding member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, only 34 percent of journalists are female. She said all five reporters who covered the environment for the Salt Lake Tribune are men.
"But I like that they report to a woman editor," Valenti said.
Valenti's lecture, part of USU Women's History Month, focused on the need for women in environmental journalism. Valenti said, "Women have ample talents in writing and talking, and they aren't afraid to combine emotion and science."
Valenti also talked about the top 10 toxic polluters in Utah. She told students that Tooele County, west of Salt Lake City, is the most toxic place on the planet.
According to Valenti, the Magnesium Corporation of America in Tooele is the reason Utah is always on the nation's top ten list of toxic releasing polluters.
"If you have friends that live in Tooele, feel sorry for them," Valenti said.
Valenti, who is originally from Florida, became interested in journalism and the environment in the '60s during the civil and women's rights movements. Valenti said she enjoys teaching people to learn to communicate about environmental issues.
"When you see students replacing you, that's what feels good, and it's
OK if they do it better," Valenti said.