The Charlotte Observer, a newspaper in Charlotte, N.C., is bravely wading into regional science coverage with a new science section that features scientists and science projects in the Carolinas in addition to wire stories of national or global interest. In an age when science sections are shriveling up like slugs cowering under threat of a dousing with salt crystals, it is refreshing and heartening to see this regional paper ratcheting up coverage.
The first feature story in their new section covered “Sonar wars in the night sky” on Jan. 11 (by Cassie Rodenberg, a New York science journalist). Soon after announcing their kick off in this series, their sister paper in Raleigh, the News and Observer, also hopped on board. Other feature stories in this section that have cast a spotlight on our area’s wealth of scientists include: Sabine Vollmer’s “Finding new power in pigs” (1/18) — Sabine is my co-blogger over at Science in the Triangle — and “Searching for the Unseen,” also by Rodenberg (1/25).
Today’s feature science story… was written by me. It covers an emerging pathogen threatening Western coastal forests, with a potential to affect the South’s picturesque oak trees: Sudden Oak Death. The story “Stalking the ‘bird flu’ of trees” is an important one in my mind. Because space is limited in the print edition of these stories, much of the cool ecology of this pathogen had to get cut from the final draft. At some point this week when I can find the time, I will post the cut parts here. (I took the time to research and report these things; would like for them to be used somewhere!) Check back for it soon…
You can keep up with all of the Observer’s sci-tech stories here.