AP Announces Sweeping Climate Journalism Initiative

Residents work in a community garden at the Promised Land favela of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where they have established community agriculture as a tool for social and economic change, as well as environmental preservation, Dec. 1, 2021. (Image credit: AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

NEW YORK—The Associated Press has announced an ambitious plan to significantly expand its climate coverage, creating a standalone desk for the coverage and hiring about 20 journalists to improve global understanding of climate change and its impact across the world.

The initiative will provide global media with a new stream of quality climate journalism via AP content and in-depth training and collaboration with AP’s customers.

The expansion is being supported by several philanthropic organizations, including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Quadrivium and The Rockefeller Foundation. AP retains complete editorial control of all content.

The dedicated climate team, led by climate and environment news director Peter Prengaman, augments AP’s environmental coverage, including an effort to cover U.S. water issues with funding from the Walton Family Foundation, and multiformat science journalism supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

As part of the new effort, AP will hire about 20 journalists based in Africa, Brazil, India and the U.S. to supplement the news agency’s journalists already covering climate and the environment. 

The new climate desk will also leverage the expertise of AP’s global staff to infuse climate coverage in all aspects of the news report, including words, visuals, data-driven journalism and graphics reaching over three billion people each day, the news organization said. 

“This is a substantial investment to ramp up and dramatically expand the outstanding work AP has been doing on climate and environment for years,” said AP senior vice president and executive editor Julie Pace. “This far-reaching initiative will transform how we cover the climate story -- helping people understand the implications and impacts of climate change on all aspects of their lives. We will do that both through our journalism and by sharing our capabilities with local newsrooms so they too can tell impactful climate stories for their audiences.”

In addition to reporters and editors for text, photos and video, AP will add reporters dedicated to the intersection of climate with the economy and state government; a climate data team that will help newsrooms localize stories; a collaborations editor who will develop outside projects and work with local journalists; an accountability editor; and more.

The news agency will also launch an AP StoryShare network for climate coverage, allowing news organizations to share their content with one another and in turn provide more robust coverage for their audiences.

There are also plans to expand the initiative further in the Amazon, Asia and Europe, where in addition to regional coverage, reporters would focus on global climate policies, emerging technologies, natural resources, famine and other subjects.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.