Six participating newsrooms have formed a partnership to share stories about climate change.
The network members are the Miami Herald, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times, The Palm Beach Post, Orlando Sentinel and WLRN Public Media.
“This is an opportunity to maximize our ability to cover the biggest story of our lives–the threat of climate change,” said Julie Anderson, executive editor of the South Florida Sun Sentineland Orlando Sentinel.
More newsrooms are expected to join. But the initial partners have begun to share stories and ideas.
“We are exploring ways to build this partnership to include universities and nonprofit newsrooms in addition to the partners now in the fold,” said Mark Katches, executive editor of the Tampa Bay Times.
The network builds off award-winning efforts last year by South Florida’s opinion editors at the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, South Florida Sun Sentinel and WLRN Public Media to launch “The Invading Sea.” The initiative won the Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership, a national honor given out annually by the News Leaders Association. The project also won national and state awards from Sigma Delta Chi, National Headliner and the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors for editorial writing.
“The network will expand the initiative to the entire state, lead with a news reporting focus and broaden the topic to other climate change effects beyond rising seas,” said Mindy Marques, publisher and president of the Miami Herald. “In addition to sharing our stories written by our own staffs, our hope is that we will collaborate directly on some enterprise projects.”
The regular drumbeat of dozens of editorials shared amongst the newspapers and radio reports broadcast to the region as part of the original collaborative project sounded alarm bells to the real effects of rising seas, which has risen 9 inches in the past century. In the next 40 years, it is expected to rise two feet.
“We aim to be the ProPublica of environmental reporting for our state of 21 million people,” added Nicholas Moschella, editor of The Palm Beach Post.
Among the topics the group will explore include:
- The dangers and solutions of increasingly destructive hurricanes accelerated by warming seas.
- The climate effects on the state’s $104 billion agriculture economy, and the ripple effect on the country.
- The future of coastal towns and cities – which ones survive, which ones go under, and which inland cities gain from the migration?
“Based on surveys already conducted by WLRN, data demonstrates that our community wants more local news regarding the environment and climate change. It is a global challenge that demands local knowledge. This collaborative is a bold move that harnesses the top news organizations in Florida in ways that are innovative, unique and meaningful,” said WLRN Vice President of News Tom Hudson.