Susan Landau has worked as a financial journalist for top international publications. Now, she helps young people understand climate change.
By Amari Leigh
Sue Landau reckons that “as long as there are humans, there will be some kind of news industry.”
One of News-Decoder’s original correspondents, Landau has written more than 15 articles for the site, focusing primarily on climate change and environmentalism.
The UK-born Landau admits that climate change was not a priority on anyone’s agenda — including her own — when she was a student in the 1970s. Her passion for supporting youth in the face of the climate crisis stems from a conviction that her generation has failed to adequately tackle the issue.
“Now young people are taking the leadership on climate, which is the best hope for the future,” Landau said. “For me, writing on the subject for News-Decoder is a way of helping the younger generation to address the climate challenge.”
Landau worked with student reporters on the first episode of the podcast The Kids Are Alright, where she discussed how climate change affects marine ecosystems. Season Two of the podcast, a joint effort of News-Decoder and Podium.me, is set to be released later this year.
Landau finds journalism more urgent today as “the world seems to be a more dangerous place now” than when she first started. “Environmental journalists are particularly at risk because they challenge deeply entrenched interests,” Laudau said. “And some powerful political figures have identified journalists as their enemy.”
Landau has written for some of the world’s leading publications including the International Herald Tribune, Reuters and Investor’s Chronicle. But she did not always foresee a career in journalism.
“I can’t honestly say I had a clear idea about journalism, much less a career plan. I always wanted to understand how things worked, and journalism allows you to look into any subject at all.”
After completing a geography degree at the London School of Economics, Landau earned a spot at City University’s then fledgling journalism program. With her diverse interests and desire to understand complex issues, pursuing journalism “seemed a good idea at the time.”
Landau’s first job was reporting for the Hornsey Journal, a weekly newspaper in London. After a couple more jobs, she ended up at Reuters, where she broke her biggest story while covering the Ferranti arms sales scandal in 1989.
Reflecting on more than 35 years in the field, Landau said, “It is a huge privilege to be able to meet people in all walks of life, and their generosity in talking openly to you — from the bottom of society to the top — is a constant pleasant surprise.”
Landaus reminds us that journalism “is a noble calling as it is closely linked to human freedom.” For students interested in pursuing journalism, Landau says “be careful” and “good luck!”
Amari Leigh is News-Decoder’s 2019 summer intern. An American citizen, she is studying French and world politics at university in the U.S. state of New York. Born and raised in New York City, Leigh has lived in Brazil, France and Portugal. She enjoys theater, learning languages and exploring new cities.