• Of the more than 2,300 renewable energy articles reviewed in 2019*, 42% included
women as spokespeople, up a meaningful 21% from our study in 2018
• Only 6% of articles talked about issues of equity or justice; and
• Only 2% referenced communities of color, down from 7% in 2018
Research has shown that the climate crisis is disproportionately affecting poor and low-income
communities and communities of color.
When on deadline, it’s often easier for a reporter to contact existing sources and cover their beat
using language and storylines already familiar to them and their readers.
Additionally, approximately 95% of each year’s $60 billion in U.S. foundation funding goes
to organizations led by white people, while 70% to 80% goes to organizations led by men.
About half of climate funding is concentrated in just 20 organizations, with demographics
that match this extreme homogeneity in leadership
The Solutions Project made a 100% Commitment to Justice, pledging to devote 95% of its funding resources to groups led
by people of color, with at least 80% of those groups led by women.
environmental racism and it’s a form of structural acism where laws, regulations, policies and corporate decisions benefit white people at
the expense of people of color.
PURSUIT OF TRUTH FAIRNESS POSSIBILITY SOLUTIONS HUMANITY COMMITMENT
QUESTIONS TO ASK
→ Are any groups described in ways that portray harmful stereotypes?
→ Have I removed the agency or power of underrepresented groups in my writing
(i.e., describing them in ways that portray them as victims or blames them)?
→ Have I unintentionally perpetuated any problematic dynamics between
different groups of people?
FRAMING A STORY
As a reporter or editor, you often get to choose the frame of every story you tell. You
typically decide whose voices and interests are central to the story, and who is often
Building on Crenshaw’s analogy, as reporters who aim to tell equitable and balanced stories,
it’s important to ask if the frame you chose for your story is expansive enough
to present the full scale of possibilities for potential solutions.
Incorporating an equity lens is an ongoing process; it takes time and commitment to shape new narratives.
Stories about climate are no longer limited to the environmental beat — coverageof the topic happens across health, business, politics and lifestyle stories
Strive to build authentic relationships with new story sources,and write those stories with those community leaders as the true and relatable heroes of the story.
Explore new ways to tell it while centering an equity lens.
There are lots of ways to connect the clean-energy story with the environmental justice story
THE (HE)ART OF INTERVIEWING
Ask what’s most important in the story to the person you’re interviewing. Ask what your interviewee would most want to have featured and
celebrated in the story. What’s being overlooked? Who else should you talk to?
HOW TO GET STARTED
1 Start researching and gathering reliable leads for environmental justice and clean energy or other
climate solutions stories
2 Familiarize yourself with the history and the energy or climate story of the community you’re writing
3 Begin reaching out to and building relationships with some of the people you’d like to interview
4 Take stock of how many environmental justice and clean-energy stories your media outlet has covered
in the last 1, 2, 3… months
HOW TO GET STARTED
How are other news outlets — especially those by and for people of color and in various languages
— covering this topic? What would you like to do differently or better? What stories aren’t being
Start planting seeds with your editor or executive producer to gauge their interest in covering these
Know that it might take a little longer to nurture a lead, develop a relationship with a story source and
understand a community’s energy story
Gather buy-in from key people in the newsroom, especially top editors and producers.
Don’t over-complicate the plan. Start simply with a lift that feels achievable.
Identify what metrics you would like to track. You need to decide what type of representation you are seeking to increase, while also avoiding tokenization.
(Just one example)
The theory introduced by Kimberlé Crenshaw that explores the complex, cumulative way in
which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism)
combine, overlap or intersect, especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or
groups. “It’s basically a lens, a prism, for seeing the way in which various forms of inequality
often operate together and exacerbate each other.
SOURCES AND CONTACTS
- “Best Practices: We have a responsibility to get the climate story right. Follow these ten tips to give your news outlet a fighting start” por el equipo de Covering Climate Now (en inglés).URL
- “Grandes historias sobre la crisis climática” recopiladas por mí, Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, y mi colega Diego Arguedas Ortiz.URL