Climate change may be a planet-sized problem, but it is no longer distant in time or place. Our audiences are experiencing its impacts locally, right now. Now is the moment for local climate journalists to lead.
The Local Media Association launched the Covering Climate Collaborative on Earth Day 2021 to support and amplify the work of local newsrooms reporting on this critical issue. These newsrooms will lead the way in moving local climate coverage beyond the silo of a narrow “beat,” to better connect the ways in which climate intersects with and impacts other local issues, whether they are health issues or infrastructure policy decisions or, importantly, making the vital connection between climate and social justice. Far too often, the harmful effects of climate change fall disproportionately on communities of color, and that story must be told.
The participating newsrooms share climate reporting and collaborate on joint storytelling projects in ways that take full advantage of the cross-platform skills of the collaborative, which includes print, digital, radio and broadcast newsrooms. Coordinating storytelling efforts across text, audio and video is the best way to meet audiences where they are.
Finally, these newsrooms benefit from the expertise of key science and journalism partners committed to excellence in climate reporting. From organizations like Climate Matters and SciLine to Solutions Journalism Network, these newsrooms will be able to tap trustworthy experts who can communicate clearly the science of climate change. LMA regularly shares case studies and reporting from the collaborative to help all local newsrooms looking to more and better climate coverage.