Kristin Musulin is an editor at Industry Dive, specifically producing content for the sections focusing on Waste and Smart Cities. From a short but explosive career in journalism covering topics that matter, Kristin is the ultimate knowledge base when it comes to understanding how businesses and government leaders have responded and reacted to facts and initiatives through online publications.
What motivated you to move from journalism like USA Today with a public focus to, let’s say, more environmentally focused journalism directed at the private sector and government?
It was an opportunity to do something different, and I’m really happy looking back, because it was an industry which at first I was not familiar with, a sort of invisible industry from a consumer standpoint. Working behind the scenes in waste and recycling, I’ve realised that I’m part of the problem as a consumer, and can now help other consumers realise this.
With smart cities coming to the forefront as a sustainable and future-driven city layout, how would waste be integrated in this type of infrastructure?
There are a few ways cities can focus on becoming more resilient in terms of waste management. They can optimize their fleets (clean fuel), and collection strategy, as well as educate citizens. There are of course, much more futuristic ways – NYC is considering underground suction tubes exploring, but we need to ask ourselves how realistic this type of innovation is when it comes to sorted recycling.
The articles that you’ve been publishing in recent years have focused on policies and activities put in place that could affect us and our communities, and determine how we deal with the existing waste. If we look at actions taken by US law to mediate the issue, Congress tried to pass a Food Recovery Act in 2017. What’s the latest on this and what would the result of this be?
I’ve looked into this again recently, and the initiative is stalled right now with the subcommittee on health. For example, there are already food waste tracking, organic waste sorting and processing systems in Maryland and New York. Federal change will take a while, but could be accelerated through state and local-level action.
Let’s move to another type of media that’s been covering, or rather uncovering, the subject of food in our society, Netflix. We prefer to watch (dramatized) videos or clips nowadays instead of reading, but how effective do you think these stories are when it comes to an action-oriented approach?
Any media form, if effective, gripping and informative, is positive. I like videos, because viewers relate to them, realise the magnitude of food waste and how it affects them or their community. Waste Dive highlights numbers surrounding food waste, putting statistics in front of people. We provide actionable items, which people can take ownership of.
Could you give us an example of some replies or reactions you’ve received from your audience that were positive, negative, or simply surprising?
“Hey we saw your article about a certain topic… that’s an interesting approach… we’ll try to do it in our city… could you put us in touch with or recommend this…” These interactions allow us to see the impact and that’s why I like this type of journalism, where we’re speaking with decision makers, going straight to the source, and achieving our goal of people taking what we write and putting it into practice.