Online Grist to Syndicate Copy To Washington Post ‘Green’ Section

The Washington Post now is getting some of its special online “green” coverage from Grist.org, publisher of the popular and environmentalist-leaning online “Grist“.

Environmental politics, green living, and “eco-focused topics” are among the news, information, and commentary to be syndicated on the Post‘s “green section“. Grist said in a statement that the Post joins MSN, MSNBC, and The Huffington Post as syndication partners.

Newly named Grist Executive Editor Russ Walker, who until early July had worked for washingtonpost.com, said in a phone interview that the syndication agreement provides no direct financial payments to Grist but rather amounts to “a branding elevation” providing links and traffic from washingtonpost.com. He said Grist is to produce no additional exclusive coverage under the agreement but added that the Post‘s .com sites will have access to Grist‘s full copy feed. He said he is aware of no consideration that the Grist copy might be carried in the newspaper itself, but said it could migrate to other post.com sites.

According to Walker, the Grist/post.com agreement is similar to a number of other syndication agreements that washingtonpost.com has reached with other content providers. He said the editorial standards applicable to the Grist copy and other copy on the Post‘s online “green section” are the same as those applicable to the print product’s news writers, such as prohibitions on memberships in environmental organizations.

In its initial posting, Grist writer Amanda Griscom Little posted an interview she conducted with Mark Tercek, the new president of The Nature Conservancy. That posting carried a disclaimer that the author’s “little brother” is a Conservancy employee.

Since its founding in 1999 under Grist President Chip Giller, Grist has earned an eager following not only among environmental activists, but also among other environmental professionals, including reporters specializing on the beat. The site has earned kudos for the extent and depth of its coverage, but journalism traditionalists see it on the activist end of the spectrum and not always as a “straight news” medium in the conventional sense.

Describing itself with its typical flare, Grist on its home page says this:

Let’s face it: reading environmental journalism too often feels like eating your vegetables. Boiled. With no butter.

But at Grist, we believe that news about green issues and sustainable living doesn’t have to be predictable, demoralizing, or dull ….

Grist: it’s gloom and doom with a sense of humor.

The parties are planning a one-year “test drive” of the syndication agreement at this point.

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