Giving Compass' Take:

Grist interviewed three journalists on how their local newsrooms cover climate change issues with dwindling budgets and few resources.

How can donors fund climate change news? Why is there urgency for local journalism to be able to cover climate change?

• Read about the importance of environmental reporting. 

Climate change impacts millions of Americans at a regional and local level. This year alone, drought ravaged southeast Alaska, floods destroyed crops in rural Iowa, and a bomb cyclone shut down a major highway in northern California.

More than 200 cities and counties, representing 34 percent of the American population, aim to get 100 percent of their energy from renewables —or already do. In the absence of federal climate policy, climate change has become a fundamentally local and regional issue.

That’s why local newsrooms are uniquely well-positioned to cover the crisis. They can arm their communities with the context they need to make informed decisions about the future: reporting on the climate initiatives that are being considered in City Hall, the local officials who are standing in the way of progress, how local housing will be affected by rising seas, and more. And they can also relay the toll rising temperatures are taking on their communities to the rest of the country.

The problem is, many of these newsrooms are dying due to the collapse of consumer and classified ad revenue in the internet age. So how can local newsrooms effectively report on climate change in an era of dwindling resources?

To answer this question, Grist interviewed three journalists in different stages of leading the climate coverage charge in their respective local newsrooms.

The three journalists said scientific expertise, good training, access to data, and — no surprise —funding are all essential pieces of the puzzle. But they also shed light on what it takes to make climate coverage work in their communities in the long term.

  • Don’t engage in “both sides-ism.”
  • Think about climate change in a holistic way.
  • Ask the right questions.
  • If daily coverage isn’t feasible, try magazine-style features instead.

Read the full article about how local journalism covers climate change by Zoya Teirstein at Grist.