Photo by Michael Kodas

Susan Moran lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she is a freelance writer covering energy development, climate science, environmental health, business and other issues. She writes for The Economist, The New York Times and Nature, and her work has also appeared in Marie Claire, High Country News, Newsweek, The Daily Climate and other publications. Susan also co-hosts a weekly science show on KGNU community radio, called "How On Earth." Before untethering as a freelancer, Susan worked as a senior editor at Business 2.0 magazine, a reporter and editor at Reuters (Tokyo, New York, Silicon Valley), and staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT for the 2009-10 academic year. Susan has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, a master's degree in Asian studies from the University of California at Berkeley, and a bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in environmental studies from UC Santa Cruz.

4 responses to “Junkets: Accept Them Or Not? That is the ethics question”

  1. David Levine

    I have gone to trips to Rome and Copenhagen. None were conditional on aarticles. I wrote blogs, unpaid, for Scientific American and disclosed my trips were paid for. As a result of my Copenhagen trip I was invited as a speaker on communicating science at a meeting in Gdansk. No conflict there. I do understand there are conflicts but remember every speaker has their expenses covered and is often given an honorarium. Alan Alda will be at AAAS. Bet his hotel is paid for. I am paying for my flight and hotel.

  2. Susan Moran

    Thanks for the comment, David. Nice job leveraging your trips to cool places into other assignments, e.g. public speaking. I don’t see conflict there either, especially with disclosure.

  3. Kendall Powell

    I see nothing sleazy, naive, or old-fashioned here! I see practical, realistic, and one of the few perks left for freelancers in this biz. As long as you disclose, I wouldn’t turn up my nose.

    But I do have one question Susan, how does the Norwegian government justify using money from oil and gas to put on a conference about the effects of global warming?! I can’t decide if that’s highly enlightened of them or a super stealthy way to promote ‘adaptation’?

  4. Susan Moran

    Kendall, good question, about the Norwegian government. It’s not that there’s a slush fund for things like this that draws directly from national oil and gas revenues. I’m just assuming that if Norway weren’t so wealthy — and its wealth has come in the last couple decades with the oil and gas boom — it wouldn’t fork out money for foreign journalists.
    And to be clear, the Norwegian government itself doesn’t organize the conference. (And by no means was everyone speaking at the conference pro-energy development.) But the fact that it has agreed to pay for journalists to attend — maybe it’s trying to do penance, or promoting climate change ‘adaptation.’ I think it wants it all, and so far it seems to be getting it (fisheries, shipping, oil/gas development, hydro power, etc.).

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