Flipping the script

Let's flip the script from telling the same old story about our waste woes to instead shining a brighter light on our recycling accomplishments. The history of how the recycling industry got here is always important to understand, but the solutions and immense progress often get ignored. “The scientific and engineering advancements that the recycling and composting industries have achieved are phenomenal, with more on the horizon,” said Kristin Kim, executive director of Recycle Colorado. “Our collaborative problem solving is something that we can all take pride in on a community and government level.”

“It’s easy to fall into patterns of familiarity when writing about certain subjects,” said Chris DeRosier, graduate teaching instructor at Colorado State University. “Past reporting becomes part of the background research for new stories, and small newsroom staff may only keep up with a subject area occasionally.”

Here are three tips to help reporters in your contact list keep a fresh perspective:

  1. Steer them toward “solutions journalism” ideas. Media research shows readers want more than to be made aware of how bad a problem is — they want to be able to do something about it. If you know of good sustainability work happening in your company or industry, pitch it as a way to write about solutions, not just problems.
  2. Pitch a “refrigerator journalism” concept. The term is familiar to journalists, even if the phrase shows some age. Print media loved articles they believed readers would feel compelled to cut out of the newspaper or magazine and stick to the refrigerator for later use. Those stories might be found in the Bookmarks tab today rather than on the fridge, but pitching a story idea readers can turn around and use will never go out of style.
  3. Tell a story. Readers have a harder time connecting to concepts and data, especially when hearing about them for the first time. Meeting a person leading the way in recycling innovations and initiatives lets readers (and reporters) connect to a human along with the info, plus it can be a good way to give credit to employees and their talents.

The upcoming Recycle Colorado Summit for Recycling conference, happening virtually June 15-16, 2021, is focused on ‘Elevating the Value Proposition.’ Speakers throughout the country will join forces with Recycle Colorado to share their expertise on the benefits of recycling that go beyond the basics of conserving natural resources. Topics covered include increasing economic security, mitigating climate change, and supporting local supply chains and end markets. If you want to know why and how to effectively invest in - and further commit to - recycling and circularity in Colorado, register and and attend this conference to learn more.

About Chris DeRosier
DeRosier is a graduate teaching instructor at Colorado State University -- a journalist turned educator, focusing on media as a business. He has written about music, sports, business, travel, food and more.

About Kristin Kim
Kim is the executive director of Recycle Colorado and comes with a strong background in nonprofit, construction and multi-media management. Her skills are focused on sustainability and her intent is to be a responsible citizen of the world.

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