Launch newsrooms selected for LMA’s Covering Climate Collaborative


(April 14, 2021) — Local Media Association is proud to announce a remarkable group of 22 news outlets from across the country as launch participants in LMA’s Covering Climate Collaborative. Together, these newsrooms will focus on covering the impacts of climate change at the local level and reporting on ways communities can take action.

The local news outlets include publishers recognized as leaders in local climate reporting, three TV broadcast groups, multiple public radio stations, as well as digital-native climate websites. The collaborative includes some of the regions most vulnerable to climate change — sea-level rise in the Southeast; hurricanes and extreme weather in the Gulf Coast; drought in the Southwest and wildfires in the West; and intense flooding and climate migration in the Midwest/Great Lakes.

“We’re thrilled to announce this group of newsrooms that are recognized for their commitment to reporting locally on the impacts of climate change,” said Frank Mungeam, LMA chief innovation officer. “This collaboration brings together newsrooms with diverse platform expertise — from print to digital to audio and video — and represents key regions directly affected by our changing climate.”

The partners are grouped into five regional hubs:

East/Southeast:

  • The News & Observer (N.C.)
  • The Post & Courier (S.C.)
  • The Miami Herald, WJCT Radio, WJXT-TV Jacksonville, WKMG-TV Orlando, and Florida International University’s South Florida Media Network (Fla.).

Gulf Coast:

  • The Times-Picayune and WWNO/WRKF Radio (La.)
  • KPRC-TV Houston, KSAT-TV San Antonio (Texas)

 Great Lakes:

  • WBEZ Chicago (Ill.)
  • Great Lakes Echo at Michigan State University, Planet Detroit, and WDIV-TV (Mich.)

Southwest:

  • ABC15-TV Phoenix (A.Z.)
  • The Paper (Albuquerque) and NMPBS (N.M.)

West:

  • The Sacramento Bee, KGO-TV San Francisco, and Southern California Public Radio (Calif.)
  • Investigate West (Wash.)

Journalists from these outlets will focus on key climate-related issues in their region, collaborating on local coverage and exchanging content with reporting teams in their region and across the collaborative. The aim is to create a best-in-class collaborative that will localize and humanize the impacts of rising global temperatures, and to empower residents in those communities to take meaningful action.

Meyer

“Florida is ground zero for the effects of sea-level rise and the Miami community recognizes the economic and environmental impact this issue has to our daily lives. The Miami Herald is excited to join the LMA Covering Climate Collaborative to work together to report these important stories and serve our community.” — Nancy A. Meyer, President, The Miami Herald

Augustyn

“InvestigateWest believes that climate change is one of the most important stories of our lifetimes, which is why the environment is one of three pillars of our reporting. As we focus even more on our Pacific Northwest communities, and solutions to better serve our audiences, we are grateful to collaborate with LMA and all partners in this project, and we are excited for the innovations that we will undoubtedly discover by working together.” — Allison Augustyn, Executive Director, InvestigateWest

Brown

“The impacts of climate change threaten to fundamentally alter not just our local habitat but Chicago’s place in the world. WBEZ Chicago is proud to be a part of a collaborative working to deepen understanding of how vital the natural environment is to our region’s past, present and future health.” – Tracy Brown, WBEZ Chicago Public Media

Helt

“Arizona is getting warmer and drier every year, and ABC15 Arizona (KNXV) wants to show our viewers how we can be smarter and adapt to the changing demands of climate change. The LMA Covering Climate Collaboration is a great opportunity for us to show the real-world impact of climate change, and what our community can do about it.” — Anita Helt, General Manager, ABC15-TV Phoenix

Terzotis

“The stakes are high for south Louisiana, where summers seem interminable, the heat and humidity seem intolerable, the threat of rising seas is greater than any place in the United States and the land is sinking, thanks to coastal erosion hastened by oil and gas exploration, hurricanes and levees that deprive wetlands of the sediment they need. We look forward to sharing our expertise with others and learning from them.” — Judi Terzotis, publisher, NOLA.com/The Advocate, New Orleans

LMA is excited to welcome Kyla Mandel as the initiative’s project manager, where she will lead the group’s content strategy and collaborations. Kyla is a writer and editor based in Washington, D.C., who has covered climate and environmental issues for National Geographic, The New York Times, and HuffPost, among others. She has extensive experience helping reporters elevate their stories, and engage people in the many ways in which climate change is affecting our world.

Mandel

“I’m delighted to be helping local outlets produce impactful, innovative coverage,” Mandel said. “I have no doubt that, together, this amazing group will inspire and inform not just their communities, but regional and national audiences as well.”

LMA is also pleased to collaborate on this climate initiative with experts in climate science and climate journalism, including Climate Matters in the Newsroom, a National Science Foundation-funded local climate reporting resources program produced by George Mason University, Climate Central, and Climate Communication, in association with NOAA, NASA, and journalism professional societies, including the Society of Environmental Journalists.

“There is an urgent need for more and better local climate reporting,” said Susan Hassol, Director of Climate Communication, part of the CMIN partnership. “That’s why our science partners are excited to work with LMA’s Covering Climate Collaborative to support deeper, more inclusive local climate journalism and to amplify the reach of these important stories.”

These climate science organizations bring invaluable training, data and expertise to participating newsrooms, including the opportunity to enroll in the Climate Reporting Master Class. LMA’s climate collaborative is committed to reporting on not only the problems caused by climate change, but also deeply and rigorously reporting on solutions to those problems. That’s why LMA has partnered with the Solutions Journalism Network on this project, enabling participating newsrooms to be trained in solutions-focused reporting methods.

The Covering Climate Collaborative will draw on the LMA’s past success in supporting news collaboratives, including Word in Black, Solving for Chicago and the Oklahoma Media Center; a history of partnering with platform and tech companies; and strong relationships with 3,000 member media companies spanning all media platforms, serving audiences in markets large and small across the U.S.

Participating news organizations will gain access to tools, training and data to enable time-challenged newsrooms to deeply report on climate challenges and meaningful actions their local audience can take; and develop and implement strategies to make climate coverage sustainable.

Climate Collaborative partners

Climate Matters is a climate reporting resource program that helps meteorologists and journalists report on climate impacts and solutions in ways that are local, immediate, and personal — grounded in the latest science.

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication is the nation’s first research center devoted entirely to improving public communication about climate change.

Climate Central is a science and communications organization working to make climate change local, relevant, and understandable.

SciLine, based at the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science, is a philanthropically-supported free service that connects reporters to knowledgeable, articulate scientist-sources and validated evidence on deadline.

Climate Communication is a Climate Communication is a non-profit science and outreach project supported by grants from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Hartfield Foundation.

Solutions Journalism Network’s mission is to spread the practice of solutions journalism: rigorous reporting on responses to social problems so that every day people are exposed to stories that help them understand problems and challenges, and stories that show potential ways to respond.

About Local Media Association/Local Media Foundation

Local Media Association/Local Media Foundation is intensely focused on creating new and sustainable business models for news to ensure a healthy future for local journalism, which is essential to a strong democracy. LMF is the 501(c)(3) charitable trust affiliated with LMA.