Much to learn about geography

FresnoJune 3, 2014 

It is very sad to see geographic illiteracy creeping into the highest levels of journalism. For a few weeks we have seen on the news the terrible flooding suffered by the people of the Balkan region of Europe. Yet in the May 20 Bee, there was an article from Bloomberg News titled "Baltics get aid." That was followed in the first sentence repeating the error, stating the aid was coming "from the Baltics to the Bosporus."

Let's get our geography right. The Baltic nations are Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, bordered on the west by the Baltic Sea, in northern Europe. There has been no flooding there. The Balkan Peninsula extends into the Mediterranean Sea, and includes Greece, and several small countries from Italy's eastern border to Turkey's Bosporus Straights. Its history is so dramatic, we ought to be familiar with its location.

As a recently retired history and geography teacher, I find this kind of "drive by" journalism appalling.

But this is not just about fact checking in a newsroom, this goes to the core of what we know about geography as Americans and we are telling all of Europe how ignorant we are. We can do better.

Bruce Adams


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