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Environmental Scene

by Rudy M. Baum
July 5, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 27

On July 1, C&EN’s first news channel, the “Environmental SCENE,” went live on the home pages of four ACS journals: Environmental Science & Technology, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Energy & Fuels, and Chemical Research in Toxicology, all of which have an environmental bent. This is a new relationship between C&EN, the American Chemical Society’s weekly newsmagazine, and the society’s highly regarded journals. It is a relationship that we in the ACS Publications Division plan on expanding in the months and years to come.

The purpose of the Environmental SCENE news channel is to enrich the home pages of the four journals on which it appears with news of interest to scientists working in environmental areas. Some of the news that appears in the Environmental SCENE news channel will come directly from C&EN. Every major department of C&EN—Business, Government & Policy, and Science/Technology/Education—contains such stories.

Other content in the news channel is being developed by C&EN’s Journal News & Community Department (JNC). JNC is staffed by two chemically trained journalists: Senior Editor Lila Guterman has an M.S. in chemistry from Caltech and a science writing certificate from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and wrote about science for the Chronicle of Higher Education from 1999 to 2008; Assistant Editor Michael Torrice holds a Ph.D. from Caltech and a science writing certificate from UC Santa Cruz. Guterman and Torrice will be writing news stories based on papers in ACS journals, and they will be commissioning stories on other papers from the four journals from a stable of highly qualified freelance writers.

You’ve already seen Torrice’s work in C&EN. He took the early lead in the magazine’s science and technology coverage of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, writing or contributing to three News of the Week stories and a Science & Technology Department story on the spill, and collaborating on the comprehensive cover story that appeared in the June 14 issue. You’ve also seen the work of some of the freelancers Guterman and Torrice are working with on the Science & Technology Concentrates page—concentrates written by freelancers have “JNC” at the end of the concentrate where the initials of the C&EN staff writer usually appear (e.g., C&EN, June 28, page 38, top left concentrate).

Since June 2009, C&EN stories based on research papers in the Journal of the American Chemical Society have been highlighted on the JACS home page. We plan to develop other news channels, such as ones devoted to analytical chemistry and instrumentation, organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, and many more.

Additional news channels are dependent on completion of a major IT program being carried out at ACS, the C&EN Production Automation Program (CPAP). Almost everything that goes into creating the Web components of C&EN—C&EN Online, CENtral Science, and the Environmental SCENE, for example—is currently done manually. When the CPAP is completed, C&EN will have an entirely electronic, XML-based workflow and a dedicated content management and delivery system. This will give the C&EN Online and JNC teams much greater flexibility to deliver unique content to C&EN’s readers and the readers of ACS journals.

All of this is part of the continued evolution of C&EN. Yes, our principal manifestation is as a weekly newsmagazine devoted to the chemistry enterprise delivered in print and electronic formats to the members of ACS. C&EN’s essence, however, is as the journalistic arm of ACS’s Publications Division. As such, we deliver “Latest News” of the chemistry enterprise every weekday—18 stories, for example, during the week of June 21. The Environmental SCENE and future news channels will expand C&EN’s journalism to the ACS journals home pages. The archive of all C&EN content dating back to the magazine’s debut will be available to institutions in 2011. When CPAP is completed in early 2011, look for further evolution of our offerings to you.

Thanks for reading.

Rudy Baum


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