Local Media Association announces launch of climate collaborative


Applications now open for 25 media partners

“We face a climate in crisis. … Now we must step up. … This is a time for boldness, for there is so much to do. … We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve the cascading crises of this era.”

With these words, President Biden in his inauguration speech challenged all Americans to confront the climate crisis. Research shows he speaks for most Americans. In 2020, 78% of Americans expressed interest in news stories about the impacts of global warming on their local community.

Local Media Association is proud to announce a partnership with leaders in journalism and climate science to create a news collaborative focused on covering the impacts of climate change at the local level, and ways communities can take action.

This national collaborative will select up to 25 local news partners to join this exciting effort. Partners must have dedicated resources already in place and a history of climate reporting. The partners will be organized around regional “hubs” representing key climate impacts such as sea level rise, drought and wildfires. Partners will bring diverse platform expertise, from print and digital to video and audio.

LMA is contracting with a project manager/editor, and will seek funding for data journalists to share across the collaborative. More information about the project manager opportunity is available here. LMA will also seek funders to support the collaborative, with the ultimate goal of fully funding a climate reporter position in each of the participating newsrooms.

“This is the right time to refocus on climate change, its local impacts, and what people can do in their communities to make a difference,” said Frank Mungeam, LMA Chief Innovation Officer. “LMA is excited to bring together the best journalism with the best science in a collaborative to empower the audiences we serve with accurate and actionable reporting.”

“There is a need to bring climate reporters together from all over North America to collaborate, network and produce great solutions-based journalism together,” said Catherine Badalamente, VP/Chief Innovation Officer, Graham Media Group and 1st Vice Chair for the LMA board of directors. “Our board committee worked on this plan for months and we are excited to finally launch it. We believe there is a lot of support out there for climate reporting along with a need to educate and inform the public on the impact of global warming.”

LMA is 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. These organizations bring invaluable training, data and expertise to participating newsrooms, including the opportunity to enroll in the Climate Reporting Master Class. This 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. LMA is proud to be partnering with the Solutions Journalism Network on this project, enabling participating newsrooms to be trained in the solutions approach.

“Although local reporting about climate change has increased dramatically over the past several years, the Covering Climate Collaborative promises to be a game-changer in the participating communities” said Professor Ed Maibach, who co-leads the Climate Matters in the Newsroom program from George Mason University. “Providing these communities with news professionals who can report stories about the climate impacts and potential solutions that are most relevant to them should make a big difference.”

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.

Local newsrooms with a commitment to covering climate are invited to apply to join the collaborative here. Applications will be accepted through February 28, 2021. Interested newsrooms can also watch the recorded informational webinar to learn more about the collaborative and how best to prepare their application.

Our 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.

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.

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.