More renewable energy policies aim to save money and environment

The push to use more renewable energy sources from the governor and legislators is one of the green themes of this year’s General Assembly, and the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday heard mixed testimony on six bills to enhance the state’s renewable energy policy, including trash talk from the chairman. Full Story »

Posted by Mary Hartney - via Maryland Reporter
Nick Alexopulos
3.5
by Nick Alexopulos - Apr. 16, 2011

This story is what you would expect from beat reporting in Annapolis on a ho-hum day, and Megan does a good job focusing on what's interesting. The lede is a bit choppy. If there was something between 'Well-Written' and 'Poorly Written' I would have chosen that, but there isn't so I had to pick 'poorly.' It's somewhat harsh and undeserved. Also, was it really necessary to use a Flickr Creative Commons picture of garbage cans? It's probably not too difficult to track down some local ... More »

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Mandie Boardman
3.5
by Mandie Boardman - Apr. 16, 2011

This article reads more to me like a retelling of what took place at a finance committee meeting with a listing of the bills, and a few quotes from the key participants. I think it would have been better to use this information as a starter to a more in-depth article on what Maryland's overall strategy is on the environment and saving money through green approaches, versus a listing of the bills proposed. While the article is factual, and does provide some sourcing, I think it falls short overall. If you really did just want to know what happened at the meeting, though, and wanted nothing else, you are probably happy with it. It's also written well enough, very straight-forward and direct. It just left me wanting to know a bit more.

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Dave Ottalini
3.6
by Dave Ottalini - Mar. 17, 2011

This is, I"m afraid, a typical story you would see coming out of a committee hearing whether in Annapolis or Washington. I think the reporter lays out both sides of the story but there's no real indication of where these bills are going.

The first graph bogs down the reader to the point where you may not care to move on. I would have split it up or shortened it. The reporter never identifies the folks providing testimony for the various environmental groups - yet gives us the name of the Frederick resident who opposes the plan to increase waste-to-energy incinerators. Where are these bills going? No indication of what happens next... I think this story provided all sides but I doubt I would have read very far if ... More »

“There is an ungodly amount of trash going into the landfill,” Middleton said. He reasoned that since there is so much trash, waste-to-energy efforts can be expanded, ... More »

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Rebecca Wilson
3.0
by Rebecca Wilson - Mar. 13, 2011

This article seems to be a simple report from a MD Senate Finance Committee hearing. There is a place for that type of article, and I find it useful to hear a recap of the debates on this important topic occurring in Annapolis this session. However, the bills are not discussed in much depth (Where do they fit into the overall renewable energy debate this year? Are there House companion bills? How controversial are these measures, and how likely are they to pass?). Experts cited are probably just those who made it to the hearing to present testimony and it is not clear if any attempts were made to check the facts they cited. The Sierra Club representative is mentioned twice but not named. The headline could make it clearer that ... More »

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Anthony Herman
2.9
by Anthony Herman - Mar. 16, 2011

I did not think this was good journalism at all. I thought it was poorly written and not easy to follow along with. I also thought the article started off with a broad tone and did not follow through; it felt very incomplete to me. The article was also sourced almost exclusively with democratic sources. I would not recommend this article.

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Alan Brody
by Alan Brody - Mar. 13, 2011
Disclosure: Alan is involved in this story as a friend (review not included in overall rating). Help
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Katie Crawford
2.9
by Katie Crawford - Mar. 15, 2011

I do not think that this is well written. I felt as though the reporter just listed the sources with the information instead of writing the story in a way that the reader can learn from it.

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Elizabeth Klinck
2.3
by Elizabeth Klinck - Mar. 10, 2011

This is ok journalism. The reporter presents three separate bills and provides only a one or two sentence summary of each bill, with very little context and sources to explain the background and impact of the story. The reporter also introduces the opposing view point using the phrase "Some environmentalists and residents presented the other side of the story," which I never think is necessary. If the reporter is doing a good job, we'll get that the next sources quoted represent the other side. She usually only quotes the representative backing the bill and sometimes one other source. It's just not enough reporting to explain the importance of each bill.

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Chris Grady
3.3
by Chris Grady - Mar. 15, 2011

It is an interesting topic to cover and the writer does a good job of explaining the issue. However, she definitely could have gone into further detail about the various arguments for and against the bills mentioned in this article.

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Fiona Weeks
2.9
by Fiona Weeks - Mar. 17, 2011

I didn't think this was a good example of journalism. The quotes were uneven for the two sides. On the support side they had a guy who spent 30-years with the EPA and thus his words hold some credibility. on the other hand, they had a random frederick resident. Also it seemed like the reporter was simply restating notes from a meeting instead of explaining the story and issue to the reader.

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Matt Ford
3.3
by Matt Ford - Mar. 13, 2011

This is a summary of a arguments made in the state legislature, which is relevant and of interest to people in the state. I like how many perspectives are included -- pro-incinerator, free-market environmentalists and others. But the story is pretty average in terms of writing quality. The reporting is there, so I guess it can be considered "good journalism." I have no idea why I have this story rated as a 3.3. I called it "incomplete" and "poorly written," yet Newstrust has it as a 3.3. Hmm.

I have never heard of the Maryland reporter, but the site seems legitimate on first glance.. But I indicated I didn't trust the site. Not because I think they're lying, just that I've never heard of the Md. Reporter in my life and I'm a journalism major at UMD.... I think the arguments are kind of out of order. The incinerator argument is not usually a mainstream argument -- environmentalists have been denigrating that strategy for decades -- so to give it so much coverage in the ... More »

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Christine Jubert
3.7
by Christine Jubert - Mar. 15, 2011

It covered all the basics, but I was interested in hearing more details about whether or not it's likely that the state will start converting more trash into energy, and what the environmental effects will be.

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Danielle Chazen
4.0
by Danielle Chazen - Mar. 10, 2011

While I admit this is not the BEST story I have read about renewable energy, it is well-sourced and presents both sides of the argument clearly. It explains both the benefit and the expense of converting trash into energy. My criticism of the piece is that while the reporter did her job of remaining objective, the story does not come to any real conclusions. The issue presented remains two-sided and does not convince me to feel one way over the other, though it did educate me on the possibility of converting trash to energy.

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Peter Tartaglione
2.6
by Peter Tartaglione - Mar. 14, 2011

This is an uninteresting story that does not really inspire any confidence in me that this story is relevant. It reads almost as a list, going through bill by bill, and is a difficult read because of the writing style. This is more of a blog post and the site does not seem as reputable to me compared to other legitimate news sources.

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Renee Poussaint
2.6
by Renee Poussaint - Mar. 17, 2011

The opening sentence of this report sets the tone for the rest of the story. It is convoluted, unnecessarily lengthy, and includes unnecessarily confusing double entendres ("trash talk"). The report is basically a laundry list of the 6 bills referred to in the opening sentence. It gives minimal amounts of information on each bill, before moving on. There is no flow or connection between the paragraphs. There is no conclusion, letting the reader know what the overall take-away should be from the story.

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Ethan Rothstein
3.0
by Ethan Rothstein - Mar. 15, 2011

As I read this bill, I had trouble figuring out what context, if any, this bill fit under. How much garbage is actually IN that landfill. The only word I see is "ungodly" in a quote from a biased party. While including all the energy bills on the table was good reporting, the main topic of the story is poorly presented and difficult to grasp.

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Deborah J Nelson
3.6
by Deborah J Nelson - Mar. 20, 2011

Questionable. These certainly are important issues. And the reporter made a noble attempt to present multiple perspectives on the wisdom of incineration as a solution while covering the rest of what happened in this hearing. But I came away with little understanding of the issues or the process. (An essential element of a process story --when such stories are necessary -- is explaining what happens next.) I appreciate the importance of keeping tabs on issues like these as they make their way through the state legislature. But I wonder if there isn't a better way to do it than the traditional news story.

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Kristen Foca
2.9
by Kristen Foca - Mar. 15, 2011

Going green is a topic I enjoy reading about; but I found this article to be slightly redundant. Although there was some useful information I wish more about the pros and cons of incinerators was included. Not many sources were quoted - instead just a general statement of why incinerators are good, and one statement about they're bad were used.

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Emily Winemiller
2.7
by Emily Winemiller - Mar. 15, 2011

I would say this was the least favorite of my stories. There was not very much background information provided and it wasn't very helpful or informative. The information that was presented seemed to just be repeating itself.

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Catlin Nalley
3.1
by Catlin Nalley - Mar. 11, 2011

This article has potential, but lacks a balanced report. The quotes used to support the the conversion of waste to energy are much stronger than those in opposition. There are no direct quotes from the other side. Overall, the facts are not coherent or brought together in a clear manner.

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Jenna Shulman
2.9
by Jenna Shulman - Mar. 14, 2011

Out of the four articles, I reviewed, I think was my least favorite and represented average journalism. The story might have been well written and provided some facts, but it did not go into much detail. The reporter only provided two quotes, which were very short and were not elaborate. Additionally, I don't really think this article to a conclusion. It just left me asking wondering what was going to happen with the future of energy.

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Sara Newman
2.0
by Sara Newman - Mar. 15, 2011

Accurate summary of the committee hearing, but it gives little background on the issue at-large and doesn't include any voices from supporters/opponents who did not attend the hearing. There's no context here to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of the state's renewable energy policy and its progress fulfilling clean energy goals. This story might provide decent supplemental information for readers keeping up with the 2011 session, but it won't be of much use to those with a casual interest in state politics.

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Amy Rebecca Pfeiffer
3.7
by Amy Rebecca Pfeiffer - Mar. 12, 2011

Where did the reporterr get this info? It's not sourced. Maryland has already set the goal of producing 22% of all electricity in the state through green sources by 2022, and the law sets out the percentage of energy that can come from different kinds of sources. Waste-to-energy is currently a “tier 2” renewable resource, meaning that just 2.5% of the total renewable energy can come from that source.

Timely matter. Could have used more in-depth analysis and facts. Seems like reporter wrote directly from a press release.

“The whole idea behind the bill is saying that our state has to become aggressive as the owner-operator of buildings to reduce the power and gas we are using,” Madaleno ... More »

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Margaret Ellen Talev
2.9
by Margaret Ellen Talev - Mar. 13, 2011

This story read like a reporter was assigned to cover a committee hearing and went and chronicled what everyone said and put it together in a laundry list. It could have been woven together a little more artfully, or better yet could have been string saved for a more satisfying piece on how lawmakers are struggling with what kind of "green" energy policies to pursue because some of the measures that sound good are actually counterproductive - or whatever. I sympathize with the reporter who probably had an assignment to meet on deadline. But with more time and a little more synthesis it could be stronger.

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Christine Huang
3.7
by Christine Huang - May. 8, 2011

I think it's a good issue to which many people don't often pay attention to have been highlighted in this article, and for that it gets some credit. Nonetheless, there wasn't anything particularly hard-hitting or conclusive about it. There was nothing suggested to be done, though I guess that would make it more of an opinion column, wouldn't it?

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Jeff Newman
2.8
by Jeff Newman - Mar. 15, 2011

A decent rundown of a Finance Committee hearing, but that's all. There's no context hear to give the reader an comprehensive understanding of the state's renewable energy policy and it's progress fulfilling clean energy goals. This story might provide decent supplemental information for readers keeping up with the 2011 session, but it won't be of much use to those a casual interest in state politics.

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Michael Andrews
2.8
by Michael Andrews - Mar. 24, 2011

The story seems to be an example of pretty good journalism. It presents an overview of several of the environmental bills proposed in the Maryland assembly. Most of the article focuses on Thomas Middleton's proposed waste incinerator legislation. The aricle describes the arguments of both the supporters and opponents of the bill. The article devotes less page space to two other proposed bills: an annual energy statistic disclosure bill and a modification to the rules regarding how individual producers of surplus energy are compensated. Since these proposed bills are given less attention, the article understandably does a worse job of presenting all sides of the debate. I had many unanswered questions about these two other ... More »

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Joanna Grabau
2.9
by Joanna Grabau - Mar. 15, 2011

It's ok. It's got good references to the event/hearing, but it doesn't speak to the larger issue of other resources in Maryland. It lacks generalization and support for idiots on the issue like myself. Well written, but lacking some overall relevance.

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Kaitlyn Carr
3.6
by Kaitlyn Carr - Mar. 12, 2011

this article presents the facts, but is lacking in detail. Furthermore, the author does not follow AP Style when listing the percentages, which makes the third graph look sloppy. Overall the story lacks sources and details that can relate to the average reader.

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3.2

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from 37 reviews (15% confidence)
Quality
3.3
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3.7
Fairness
3.5
Information
3.3
Insight
3.0
Sourcing
3.2
Style
2.7
Accuracy
4.0
Balance
3.3
Context
2.8
Depth
2.6
Enterprise
2.5
Expertise
4.0
Originality
2.0
Relevance
3.9
Transparency
3.3
Responsibility
4.0
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2.7
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2.5
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2.9
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