When we at Climate Confidential launched our initial campaign, in March 2014, we had modest goals. We wanted to build a home for stories about the intersection of the environment and technology, rooted in deep knowledge of both subjects. We wanted to be able to pay ourselves something for producing those stories. We thought it would be cool to host an event or two.
Your support blew those modest plans out of the water. With hundreds of subscribers and several large donations from individuals and organizations, we closed our campaign determined to do a whole lot more: host quarterly events, produce 4 – 5 stories a month in themed issues, partner with other outlets to find a larger audience for our work, and think about ways in which we could support other reporters who were doing important work in our field.
Thanks to your continued readership and feedback, we’ve pulled it off. In its first year of existence, Climate Confidential produced more than 60 stories and hosted three events. We have partnered on stories and events with more than a dozen outlets, including The Atlantic, The Guardian UK, Scientific American, Smithsonian, Pacific Standard, Modern Farmer, Popular Science, Quartz, and many more. As a result, your subscriptions have supported climate coverage that reaches readers far beyond Beacon, and our stories have deepened an ongoing conversation about businesses, communities, and society reckoning with environmental change.
We also launched an initiative called Local Edition to help reporters at small regional newspapers produce more in-depth environmental stories and then give those stories a wider reach. So far, this project has yielded a detailed multimedia series on drought and restoration in California, in partnership with the Davis Enterprise. Local Edition also made it possible for The Japan Times to consider the common (and mistaken) assumption that declining populations inevitably result in environmental gains, and examine how depopulating regions can shrink smarter.
In the course of all this, we’ve divided into two branches: producing independent journalism and building partnerships with other media outlets. In the year ahead, those two branches will carry on as separate entities.
Climate Confidential will continue to produce the environmental science and technology stories that you have come to expect of this group, helmed by Ucilia Wang and Josie Garthwaite. They plan to mix things up by producing in-depth features as well as shorter columns and behind-the-scenes looks at building Climate Confidential. You will hear more from them in the days and weeks ahead — and they hope to hear more from you, too. You can always reach the Climate Confidential team with burning questions, suggestions for stories and issues you would like to see covered, and general feedback by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celeste LeCompte and Amy Westervelt, meanwhile, will continue to develop collaborative and partnership-driven projects, experimenting with the different distribution channels, technologies, and models that began with the Local Edition project. They’re looking for ways to amplify the reach of environmental reporting, and they’ve got some great projects underway. To find out more about their work in the coming months, follow their work here on Beacon, now under the name The Boxwood Bureau, and make a new pledge to help fund their work.
Mary Catherine O’Connor will continue to write environment stories for a variety of outlets and to support both efforts outlined here as her time allows. Erica Gies will continue her reporting on environment and technology from her home in Victoria, British Columbia.
This is a very long way of saying thank you: for believing in us, for supporting the work we’ve produced, and for helping us succeed to the point of creating not one but two exciting projects that are heading into year two emboldened to take even bigger strides. We have been amazed by a lot of things this year, including the amount of work involved in producing even a small publication — and the broad reach that the focused efforts of a small team can produce.
The most inspiring lesson by far has come from readers like you. Your willingness to support both the production and distribution of in-depth environmental coverage is the best example we’ve seen of readers showing that they want more than lists and celebrity gossip.
Thank you for believing in us and for reinforcing our belief in this work.
Josie Garthwaite & Ucilia Wang