October 3, 2008

Op Ed: Bring balance, bigger picture to ethanol articles

A series of articles ran in the Journal Star this week that made an attempt to examine ethanol's impact on food and water, and examined the politics of the biofuel. According to the paper, the articles were from a year-long class project by a group of eight University of Nebraska-Lincoln journalism students who investigated the pros and cons of corn-based ethanol.

Fortunately, the paper published an op ed piece today by Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. Check out the op ed column here. (There's a link to the series from within the op ed.)

In his response, Hutchens lays out a few facts on corn and ethanol and points out an error or two, especially in the first article in the series that addressed food and fuel. He notes that some facts and important information was left out of the series.

What's hard to understand is how a few easily corrected errors could be included after year-long work, or that much of the first article in the series came from other news articles and old research papers - and not from interviews with a few more sources who could provide perspective and depth.

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