We are building a permanent home for environmental journalism in America and making it a permanent part of civic life. In May, we showed what the network can do. We published a project called "Middle America's Low-Hanging Carbon," a collaboration of 14 local newsrooms in the Midwest. We are expanding the network across five regions. Our model is built around collaboration, rather than competition, to better serve the public interest at a crucial time.
Over the last 10 years, environmental journalists have virtually disappeared from most newsrooms in the country's interior. Few are working outside of coastal markets, leaving too many citizens, who are already misinformed, vulnerable to continued misinformation about climate science, human health and pollution than ever before.
We are now training local reporters, generating stories, and creating collaborations among newsrooms in the South and the Midwest, and later this year, in the Mountain West. Eventually we will expand the network to five regions to rebuild the national capacity for local environmental reporting. Local news outlets are still trusted sources of information. They can communicate with their audiences in a local language they understand. The project will rebuild this terribly eroded capacity.
Across two regions, our network already has almost 50 affiliated reporters working from newsrooms in local communities. Once we build the network to include five regions, close to 200 reporters will be included. This will create a formidable collaborative environmental reporting capability that can deliver real news and strengthen its impact on public awareness, public health and public policy.