"Call Them by Their Names" (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, 5/18/18)
This "hot take" explores the major main-stream media's tendency to protect white people's identities when reporting on recent racial bias incidents, and recommends a more thorough approach to covering these issues.
(To date, the story has been reprinted in Salon and discussed in articles by The Root and Washington Monthly.)
I’m a freelance journalist who covers under-the-radar trends and amplifies unheard voices.
In the course of 30 years of reporting and analyzing global news and culture for print and online media, I’ve published 7 cover stories and been a regular contributor to two dearly departed national magazines: Nuclear Times (the bimonthly covering Soviet-American relations and the U.S. peace movement) and Biography Magazine (the glossy monthly spinoff of the A&E Network history series). I’ve also written for Extra!, the journal of the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, for more than two decades. Along the way, I’ve sold articles to consumer, trade, regional, alumni, and independent press outlets from Seventeen to The Nation.
Hiking the Eco Beat
Since the early 2000s, my professional passion has been the environment, particularly climate change, energy, and women’s environmental health. An unexpected choice for a Bard College English major with a near-aversion to science…until I realized that the way we humans treat the natural world always comes back to us. Now I positively geek out on things like SPIN farming, low-carbon cement, and gas flaring.
My reported pieces have appeared in The Daily Climate, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Forests, and BioScience, among other outlets. Most recently, I was under contract with the energy news site ShaleReporter, covering the effects of fracking in Pennsylvania and beyond. Simultaneously, I worked as a news aggregator for The Daily Climate and Environmental Health News, scouring the internet at dawn for breaking stories.
My work has taken me inside a sewer in Philadelphia, to a highway protest outside the U.N. climate talks in Mexico, and to fossil-fuel boomtowns across the country. But you can usually find me attached to my iMac, wrangling databases, academic journals, and Skype interviews.
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My articles have been reprinted in online news outlets, such as Salon, AlterNet and Daily Kos, as well as in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Health Services. They've also been cited or republished in books, including Greenhaven Publishing's Opposing Viewpoints series, and taught as part of college curricula. I've discussed my work on numerous public-radio programs, including NPR’s "Living on Earth" and FAIR’s "CounterSpin.”
2014 “Shale Country” Fellowship from the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources to travel and write about communities affected by fracking for natural gas.
2001 Honorable Mention from Project Censored for investigative reporting on the environmental impact of print media. The project was supported by a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.
Miranda C. Spencer
Freelance Writer & Editor