Respected Climate Writer Dan Vergano Leaves USA Today for NatGeo

The climate journalism pool gets shallower with the loss of respected science and climate journalist Dan Vergano from USA Today, and it doesn’t appear he’ll be doing much more on climate change from his new post at nationalgeographic.com.

The quality of outstanding journalism at major U.S. daily newspapers takes another hit, and a big one, with the recent move of Dan Vergano, for the past 14 years with USA Today, to NationalGeographic.com as a senior writer and editor.

It appears he will not be taking climate change issues as part of his continuing journalism portfolio.

Dan Vergano moves from USA Today to National Geographic online site. Photo Credit: Mark Thiessen.

Vergano for several years now has been considered among the best of a rapidly shrinking pool of science writers writing regularly on climate issues in daily newspaper journalism. Leaving that area of coverage was “one of the hard things about leaving” USA Today, he said in a recent phone interview, adding that he expects to do very little daily or feature writing on climate change issues in his new position.

Vergano had established a reputation among climate change scientists and policy makers for the quality of his coverage, even among those who often profess to be somewhat dismissive of journalism at USA Today overall. He said he regrets he’ll be doing “much less” on climate from his new post, particularly given that natioalgeographic.com has in place an energy team of writers and editors.

“Even if things hadn’t been getting tougher” in daily newspapering, Vergano said he would have found it difficult to forego the opportunities to join an organization with resources to match those of the National Geographic Society.

“One thing I really regret,” he mentioned, is that he will no longer be attending the fall meetings of the American Geophysical Union, which he said he considers the leading professional science gathering. “And they have free beer at 3 p.m. too,” he jested, referring to a longstanding practice many AGU conference attendees hold near and dear.

National Geographic characterized its hiring of Vergano as “part of an increasing emphasis on daily content.” The site boasted of having recently hired away experienced journalists from other leading news organizations, and it said Vergano will be called on to “help us in one of our primary goals — making complex science understandable and approachable for millions of readers.” Those wanting to follow his continued reporting can do so via the free online nationalgeographic.news site or on Twitter @danvergano.

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