The news industry is undergoing shrinking newspaper circulations, cuts in science and health coverage, and expansion of Internet news sources. We examine the impact of these changes using a case study set in Libby, Montana. In 1999, a Seattle newspaper story focused attention on asbestos exposure and related diseases in this small town. In 2009, that newspaper became an online-only newspaper, just as coverage of a related criminal trial began. Later that year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a public health emergency. Online newspaper archives and a collaboration between the University of Montana's journalism and law schools contributed to coverage of these developments. Continued efforts to promote interest in and skills needed for high-quality public health and environmental reporting are needed.
From the aDepartment of Environmental and Occupational Health, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC; and bLegis Congressional Fellowship, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC.
Editors' Note: Epidemiology & Society provides a broad forum for epidemiologic perspective on health research, public policy, and global health.
Submitted 30 June 2009; accepted 28 September 2009.
Editors' note: A commentary on this article appears on page 267.
Correspondence: Glinda Cooper, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC. E-mail: Cooper.Glinda@epa.gov.