About Us

What is Climate Desk?

Climate Desk is a multi-media journalistic collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate. Our partners include: Atlas Obscura, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Grist, the Guardian, Hakai Magazine, High Country NewsInside Climate News, MediumMother Jones, Canada’s National Observer, RevealSlate, The Weather Channel (via Pattrn), UndarkWired, and Yale Environment 360.

Why collaborate on a project about the climate?

Because even though it’s a fascinating and important story, it hasn’t been told well enough.

Why not?

1) Climate change is slow-moving, vast, and overwhelming for news organizations. 2) Coverage is often 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.

What’s the advantage to collaborating?

For one, 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.

How do I contact you?

Send general inquiries to Senior Editor Michael Mechanic, mmechanic@motherjones.com. (Please include “Climate Desk” in the subject line.) 

Who works on Climate Desk?

Climate Desk was convened by Mother Jones in 2009 and has provided coverage to a global shared audience of more than 300 million. It is coordinated by Mother Jones. Here’s our team.

Michael Mechanic

Mike oversees Climate Desk. He’s a veteran senior editor based in the San Francisco office of Mother Jones, where he also writes (mostly on wealth and inequality) and edits everything from blog posts to feature stories for print and web. His 2021 book, Jackpot: How the Super-Rich Really Live and How Their Wealth Harms Us All, doesn’t much get into climate issues, though it could have, given the outsized environmental impacts of our wealthiest 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. He worked for years in the alt-weekly universe, and his work has appeared in publications from the tiny Pt. Reyes Light to The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, Wired, and (of course) Mother Jones. He still enjoys writing this and that on scientific topics. You can follow him on Threads: @michaelamechanic or X @michaelmechanic.

Marianne Szegedy-Maszak

Marianne, our backup Climate Desk editor, is editorial operations director for the DC bureau of Mother Jones. She has written for the the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Washington PostEsquire, Los Angeles Times, and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, among others. She has written one book and ghosted many. 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 X, too, at @szegedym

James West

James West is Mother Jones’ deputy editor, based in New York City. James is a talented audio and video producer 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 X and Instagram: @jameswest2010