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✨New year, new look! The Seedling got a little refresh over the holidays.

Ezra David Romero

Climate Reporter, KQED
@ezraromero on Twitter 

Happy start to 2023, fellow Uprooters! I’m Ezra David Romero, a climate reporter at KQED, one of the NPR stations for the San Francisco Bay Area. As I write this, a family of atmospheric rivers is parading over California turning streets into rivers, darkening thousands of homes and flooding neighborhoods. 

The new year is a time when people make quick resolutions about weight-loss, travel plans and when journalists identify stories for the coming year. It’s a time when we look into the future — much like climate scientists — and predict what our story arch will look like in the coming months. But as I know as a reporter in California where megafires, dry wells and flooding all occur in the same 12-month span, it’s not always easy to forecast how our reporting lives will play out.

I raise a glass to you this year and challenge you to think hard about who you will include in your pieces. Often climate journalism is characterized by quoting white guy scientists in stories about communities of color (and pieces often only have a line or two about POC three-fourths of the way into the copy). As we know POC are often the most affected by climate change, so, when I see these types of stories I dream of an alternate way.  

Over a brew with your colleagues — or this Uproot email — let’s commit to flipping this script. 

How do we do this? Think about the climate effects in your area or the solution you’re writing about. Now, consider who is most impacted by the flood or who will benefit from an electric car rebate. Go hang out with them and have them as your main sources. After all, they are the experts with lived climate experience.

Now, we usually need three or more sources for a story — main characters, experts and public officials. So, why not have POC as the secondary and tertiary experts in your pieces? Finding them takes a little more time, but I GUARANTEE your stories will sing in a whole new way if you do this. And your POC interviewees won’t be explained away by sources that don’t look like them. 

I’ve found reporting in this way extremely rewarding. Last summer a community source called me after a piece about sea level rise and contamination aired. She told me she felt honored by how I told her story. The knowledge that she felt valued in my climate journalism made my 2022 and is the reward I am hoping for in 2023 — that is, alongside possible systemic change for people of color despite ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Do you have questions or want to share sources? LMK on Twitter @ezraromero, and follow my reporting on KQED.

 What are you planting? 

Uproot members in the news

Submerged: Indigenous Communities and Mega-Hydro Projects
Farha Akhtar's Uproot Fellowship project, with What About Water?
    Listen on Apple Podcasts
    Listen on Spotify

Did salmon actually use the Skagit River before the Seattle dams were built?
Rico Moore, High Country News
    Read more

The Energy Transition Has a Labor Shortage Problem. This Startup Is Taking It On.
Michelle Ma, Nexus
    Read more

What’s wrong with these climate models?
Chad Small, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
    Read more
#SEJ2023 Diversity Fellowships

The Society of Environmental Journalists and The Uproot Project are partnering to offer diversity fellowships (worth up to $2500) to support journalists’ attendance at #SEJ2023 in Boise. Applications will be accepted until February 6th. Please visit the SEJ application for more details.
Uproot Updates 

What members need to know:


A Journalist's Guide: How to Navigate Social Media
  • Presented by The Uproot Project
  • When: January 26th, 3pm EST
  • Where: Virtual (on Zoom)
  • Sign up here
#SEJ2023 IJNR: SEJ Post-Conference Tour
  • Beyond Yellowstone: Connecting Divided Landscapes
  • A number of spots will be reserved for Uproot members
  • Read more and apply
  • Don't forget to join us on Slack!
Growing new roots 

Job opportunities, grants, and fellowships
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