WSW: Covering the Environment and Conservation

Aug 7, 2014

Mike Van Buren
Credit Courtesy of Mike Van Buren

Former Kalamazoo Gazette Reporter Mike Van Buren always had an interest in conservation and a passion for journalism. 

The North Woods Call's long-time publisher Glen Sheppard passed away in 2011, after 42 years running the newspaper. Van Buren says he talked to Sheppard's widow and persuaded her to sell the newspaper, instead of "burying it" with her late husband. 

Van Buren says the North Woods Call covers everything about natural resources, conservation and nature. He says the newspaper focuses on northern Michigan. But he says occasionally stories in other parts of the state get covered. Van Buren says that includes the issue of "fracking" in Allegan County, which was covered earlier this year. 

The North Woods Call's importance has grown, according to Van Buren, because newspapers have cut back on their coverage of the environment and conservation. He says the North Woods Call is "limping along." Van Buren says at first he went to an all-digital format. But he discovered that much of the audience was only reading the print edition. The North Woods Call now publishes twice a week. 

Asked if he considers North Woods Call an advocacy or journalistic publication, Van Buren says he likes to consider the newspaper a balanced approach to conservation and the environment. He says the paper defends the wise use of natural resources. 

Van Buren says he hopes North Woods Call informs people about environmental issues, and allows for an open, honest public debate about conservation and natural resources.