Q: What is the Climate Desk?
A: Climate Desk is a multi-media journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. Current partners include: Atlas Obscura, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, CityLab, Grist, The Guardian, Hakai Magazine, High Country News, HuffPost, Medium, Mother Jones, Canada’s National Observer, Newsweek, Reveal, Slate, The Weather Channel, Undark, Wired, and Yale Envirnoment 360 .
Q: Why collaborate on a project about the climate?
A: Because even though it’s a fascinating and important story, it hasn’t been told well enough.
Q: Why not?
A: There are several reasons: 1) Climate change is slow-moving, vast, and overwhelming for news organizations. 2) What coverage there is tends to be fractured and compartmentalized—science, technology, politics, and business aspects are covered by different teams, or “desks” of reporters, despite the intrinsic connections. 3) Cuts to news organizations are making matters worse. 4) Increasingly, the urgency of the situation has led to a greater appetite for coverage that no single news organization can possibly satisfy.
Q: what’s the advantage to collaborating?
A: For one thing, more hands on deck and more outlets mean we can do more coverage, bringing our various strengths and audiences to bear. Partner outlets have broader access to coverage from our partners and an opportunity to have a bigger reach for their own work. We also occasionally collaborate on stories, whether it’s an investigative story, a UN conference, or a television special on the 2020 election. Also, given the transformation of the media business, collaboration is part of the future of journalism.
Q: How do I contact you?
A: General inquiries can be sent to Michael Mechanic, email@example.com. (Please include “Climate Desk” in the subject line.)
Q: Who works on Climate Desk?
Climate Desk was convened by Mother Jones in 2009 and has provided climate coverage to a global shared audience of over 300 million. It is coordinated by Mother Jones, and here’s our team.
Mike oversees Climate Desk. He’s a veteran senior editor based in the San Francisco office of Mother Jones, where he also writes (mostly about wealth and inequality of late) and edits everything from blog posts to feature stories for print and web. His recent book, Jackpot: How the Super-Rich Really Live and How Their Wealth Harms Us All, doesn’t go into climate change much, but it could, given the enormous carbon footprints of the wealthiest global citizens, their financial interests, and their ability to evade the worst consequences of a warming planet. Mike came to journalism from a science background, with degrees in biochemistry and cellular and developmental biology from UC Berkeley and Harvard, and still enjoys writing this and that on scientific topics. You can him on Twitter at @michaelmechanic.
Marianne, our backup Climate Desk editor, is Editorial Operations Director for the DC office of Mother Jones. She has written for the The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Esquire, the Los Angeles Times, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, among others. She has written one book and ghosted many others. Before joining Mother Jones, she was a senior writer at US News & World Report and a professor of Journalism at American University. She’s on Twitter, too, at @szegedym
James West is Mother Jones’ deputy editor, based in New York City. James is also a talented audio and video producer who has been responsible for Mother Jones‘ excellent podcasts and video content. Check out his six-part video series for our National Magazine Award-winning private prison exposé. (Don’t miss the bit where he gets arrested.) You can find James on Twitter or Instagram. @jameswest2010