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AP announces sweeping climate journalism initiative

Smoke billows from the Mt. Etna volcano, as seen from Nicolosi, Sicily, southern Italy, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Salvatore Allegra)
Smoke billows from the Mt. Etna volcano, as seen from Nicolosi, Sicily, southern Italy, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Salvatore Allegra)

The Associated Press announced today it will significantly expand its climate coverage, creating a standalone desk that will enhance the global understanding of climate change and its impact across the world.

The initiative will infuse the global media landscape with a new stream of quality climate journalism through both AP content and in-depth training and collaboration directly with AP’s thousands of customers worldwide.

AP will hire about 20 journalists based in Africa, Brazil, India and the U.S. to supplement the news agency’s journalists already covering climate and the environment. Together the team will transform how AP covers the climate story, including focusing on the profound and varied impacts of climate change on society in areas such as food, agriculture, migration, housing and urban planning, disaster response, the economy and culture.

The new climate desk will leverage the expertise of AP’s global staff to infuse climate coverage in all aspects of the news report, including words, visuals, data-driven journalism and graphics reaching over three billion people each day.

“This is a substantial investment to ramp up and dramatically expand the outstanding work AP has been doing on climate and environment for years,” said AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Julie Pace. “This far-reaching initiative will transform how we cover the climate story — helping people understand the implications and impacts of climate change on all aspects of their lives. We will do that both through our journalism and by sharing our capabilities with local newsrooms so they too can tell impactful climate stories for their audiences.”

In addition to reporters and editors for text, photos and video, AP will add reporters dedicated to the intersection of climate with the economy and state government; a climate data team that will help newsrooms localize stories; a collaborations editor who will develop outside projects and work with local journalists; an accountability editor; and more.

The work will enable locally relevant text, photo and video for media outlets in large and small markets, including projects with AP partner news agencies in countries like India focusing on expanded coverage in multiple languages.

The news agency will also launch an AP StoryShare network for climate coverage, allowing news organizations to share their content with one another and in turn provide more robust coverage for their audiences.

The expansion is supported by several philanthropic organizations, including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Quadrivium and The Rockefeller Foundation. AP retains complete editorial control of all content.

“Unbiased, fact-based journalism has never been more important or imperiled,” said Larry Kramer, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. “The Associated Press has, for over a century, played a crucial role reporting on the most pressing issues of our time, including climate change. The climate initiative will build on AP’s legacy of independent journalism and help millions better understand the impact of the climate crisis and counter climate-related misinformation.”

“We are proud to be supporting a trusted nonpartisan global news source to expand fact-based, localized climate reporting at this crucial time,” said Quadrivium Foundation Co-founder and President Kathryn Murdoch. “Effectively communicating the threats of climate change and the opportunities of a clean energy transition is an essential precursor to building public will for policy change.”

“The more we shine a light on the very real-world dangers and effects of climate change, the more political leaders, businesses and civil society will come together on solutions,” said Eileen O’Connor, The Rockefeller Foundation’s senior vice president for communications, policy and advocacy. “We really are all in this together and we have to understand that only collective, global action that ensures a more rapid and equitable transition to renewable energy for everyone, everywhere will mitigate the danger.”

The dedicated climate team, led by Climate and Environment News Director Peter Prengaman, augments AP’s environmental coverage, including an effort to cover U.S. water issues with funding from the Walton Family Foundation, and multiformat science journalism supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

There are plans to expand the initiative further in the Amazon, Asia and Europe, where in addition to regional coverage, reporters would focus on global climate policies, emerging technologies, natural resources, famine and other subjects.

Learn more about how AP works with outside groups: