Mashable expands into climate reporting

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Hurricane Sandy ravaged the New Jersey coastline. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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Andrew Freedman, most recently a senior science writer for Climate Central, will be Mashable's first climate, weather and environment reporter, the site said Tuesday.

Mashable chief content officer and executive editor Jim Roberts told Capital that Freedman would be charged with writing about extreme weather as well as the science behind it.

"It’s a hotly debated topic that has got a lot of roots in red and blue politics," Roberts said. "So having somebody that can be a real sober authority on the links between manifestations of climate and the science of climate is just a great asset to have. “

Though for right now climate and environmental coverage is a beat, there’s a possibility for the topic to grow into its own vertical or become part and parcel of a larger science vertical on the site, Roberts told Capital.

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When Roberts, a former New York Times and Reuters editor, joined the Pete Cashmore-founded site in in October, he had a couple ideas of just how he planned to expand the site’s coverage.

“This is one of the very small, handful of areas in which we really aspire to grow into,” he said. “And we’ve mentioned entertainment coverage, which we’re exploring as well. I think entertainment and environment while they’re not necessarily connected; they both feel like a very natural outgrowth of the core of our journalism.”

In a conversation with Capital back in October, Roberts would not say in which specific fields he hoped the site would expand, but he recalled closely following the news of the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan in 2011 and bringing his Twitter followers reports from English newspapers in Japan and its vicinity. 

“I think this is a subject that dovetails very nicely with some of our core strengths,” Roberts said. “In my head, it made me begin to ponder what are the ways those natural strengths can be [brought to bear] on other topics that I think are of global concerns and climate just seems like a natural avenue that grows out of that.”

Freedman's hire comes a few weeks after Mashable closed its first round of outside funding in the amount of $13 million, and a week after Mashable announced a move to new and bigger Manhattan headquarters. But Roberts said it was tough to say that Freedman’s hire was a direct consequence of the funding.

“I think you’re going to see from us a number of strategic hires and a number of ways in which we will be investing further in our content and what we present to our audience that has a lot to do with the expansion goals that are kind of at the heart of the funding,” Roberts said.