The Environmental Justice Journalism Initiative seeks to create a more engaged and informed community around environmental inequities and to address them to build a more equitable future. We are working with students to help them produce high-quality investigative work and connect them with resources for careers in a variety of fields that touch on environmental justice.
These stories – and the corresponding pleas for a more equitable future – are often untold. The local media in many cities is a shadow of what it once was, and the reporters who remain are often focused on big environmental policy decisions.
Over the years, we have heard the trope that Black people do not care about the environment and do not appreciate the outdoors. We know nothing could be further from the truth. In the history of the Chesapeake Bay, where we are based, Black Americans were among the most prolific fishermen, oystermen, farmers, and hunters. The pandemic has brought great diversity to our outdoor spaces, and has shown the value those close-to-home parks and preserves have for all of us. We believe communities have stories to tell about these spaces, and the threats to them.
The Environmental Journalism Justice Initiative aims to teach high school students the skills that journalists need but that they could apply to a multitude of careers, including public-interest law, marine science, city planning, environmental activism, and of course also reporting and editing. The world needs more journalists, but it also needs professionals across disciplines with investigative stills and an ability to connect current problems in science and policy to past decisions. We seek to teach students we will work with on how to obtain information and construct a narrative, be it for video, audio, or a printed piece, We also seek to connect students with various opportunities for mentoring and career development so they can chart their own course.