After five and half years and about 160 posts, I’m more than a bit sad to announce that my Guardian blog – Planet Oz – has officially closed.
The decision to shut down the Guardian’s global environment blog network was made back in July in London, with the pin being pulled at the end of August.
However, there was an oversight (a pretty bad one) and some of us – including Dana Nuccitelli and John Abraham of Climate Consensus – the 97% blog – weren’t told until very recently. That meant that even after the official end date, some of us were still posting, totally oblivious of the decision.
The Guardian has apologised sincerely to me for the communications mess up, and I’ve accepted it. Shit happens (Dana has written about the evolution of the blogs that gives a bit more background).
Anyway, the Guardian says it made the decision due to a resources issue. I’m not convinced (the Guardian didn’t have to pay up front for any copy as the agreement on pay was related to ad revenue and page views), and I think that it’s more likely the Guardian just thought that the model of having bloggers – several of which were not journalists – largely running their own editorial show under the Guardian brand wasn’t something they wanted to keep going. But anyway, whatever the reasoning, what’s done is done.
None of this has anything to do with GuardianAustralia, who were also unaware.
I’m really proud of the body of work that I produced over the years for Planet Oz – blogging from United Nations climate conferences in Warsaw, Lima, Paris and Marrakech, calling to account climate science denialists and misinformers (some at the highest levels of power and influence), keeping on top of the science, warning of the rise of the alt-right conspiracy theorists, revealing the influence of lobbyists and all sorts of other stuff.
The Guardian gave us a huge amount of freedom to write and it was a total privilege to be part of that. I’m very thankful.
Some might have noticed my output on Planet Oz has dropped off pretty dramatically but this was mostly down to all the other investigative features and stories GuardianAustralia was commissioning me to work on as part of its crowdfunded Wide Brown Land series.
There were features on Australia’s microplastics problem (with an awesome data vis you should check out), marine parks, turtles, seismic testing worries and lots of stories about the International Whaling Commission meeting.
GuardianAustralia is encouraging me to keep contributing, and I will. I’m still working regularly for DeSmog in the US too, and I’ll keep that up.
So what now? I actually don’t know, but I’m open to suggestions.
Should I keep blogging and, if so, where? I’d like to produce another bunch of Positive Feedback podcasts but, like the blogging, I have to find a way to make that pay.
In any case, a massive thank you goes to the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who read, shared, and engaged with Planet Oz over the years.
Let’s see what happens next.