Call for Applications: Climate Beacons 

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The Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) is leading a systems-level change in journalism so that all people – no matter how or where they get their news – have access to rigorous reporting not only about problems, but about promising and evidence-based responses to them as well. This is especially critical for the coverage of our changing climate, where apocalyptic, unsolvable, doom and gloom stories far outweigh those that examine meaningful efforts to advance environmental repair, resilience and adaptation. The news plays a pivotal role in making this information widely available. More specifically, people need credible information from news sources they trust that increases their sense of possibility, and hope, in this uncertain world. 

To advance this work, we are launching the Climate Beacons Initiative in partnership with Covering Climate Now and Climate Central. This year-long program (through September 2023) will bring together five newsrooms in the U.S. to work individually and collectively to transform their coverage of the changing climate throughout their organizations. 

This transformational change will be grounded in just transition, which prioritizes equity in responses to address the climate crisis, and will be focused on deep engagement with the communities the newsrooms cover and serve. These newsrooms will serve as models for how other news organizations can permanently transform their coverage of the climate crisis. To achieve this goal, each newsroom will choose a Climate Fellow to take part in the Solutions Journalism Network Train-the-Trainers program (ToT). These five fellows will each create a climate solutions journalism training module that can be used to spread the practice of solutions journalism in covering our changing climate. 

The initiative comes with a $20,000 stipend for the newsroom and $5,000 for the Climate Fellows. 

All programming will be conducted virtually. 

Important dates: 
First application deadline: Oct. 10, 2022
Semifinalists announced: Oct. 14, 2022
Semifinalists 1:1 Calls: Oct. 24-28, 2022
Finalists application deadline: Nov. 7, 2022
Climate Beacons announced: Nov. 11, 2022 
First quarterly meeting: Dec. 14, 2022

In addition to financial support, participating newsrooms will receive the following: 
  • Support to produce and execute projects focused on community needs and that center equity. 
  • Coaching and support in tracking institutional change within the newsroom. 
  • Support and coaching in tracking impact on community to measure the effect the newsrooms’ move from their present state of covering climate to one that is focused on solutions and equity.
  • One-on-one coaching with SJN staff. 
  • Workshops in key issue areas conducted by SJN, Covering Climate Now and Climate Central.  Workshops will be guided by the needs of five beacon newsrooms, but may focus on increasing their knowledge of climate science; deepening solutions journalism practices; training in strengths-based narrative training and how to cover climate through an environmental justice lens; revenue, audience impact and measurement training; and data training to inform their projects. 
Newsrooms will be required to:
  • Attend quarterly reviews to present their evolving projects to each other with the stated outcome of sharing their learnings and challenges. 
  • Attend workshops provided by SJN and its partners. 
  • Attend monthly 1:1 coaching sessions. 
  • Complete a solutions-focused project centered on the needs of their community, especially focused on equity and justice. 
  • Create and implement a “from-to” dashboard to track progress in the newsroom toward permanently changing coverage of the climate crisis. 
  • Create and implement an impact measurement plan to track how projects enhanced their communities’ knowledge and understanding of, and engagement with local (or other) solutions that specifically impact them.
Fellows will be required to: 
  • Complete the  SJN’s Train the Trainer program. (virtual)
  • Create a climate solutions training module for future “Train the Trainer” programs.
  • Create and implement a “Train the Trainer” climate solutions plan and host at least one training six months after the end of the initiative. SJN will support trainers to find ongoing  training opportunities within newsrooms and journalism support organizations. 
  • Provide resources and tools to other trainers. Trainers will add their resources, tools, data and workshop materials to SJN’s training library for use by other trainers around the world. 
Every effort will be made to make certain quarterly meetings, coaching sessions, workshops and training are conducted based on the availability of the newsrooms and their staff. 

Selection criteria 
  • Demonstrated commitment to covering our changing climate with a focus on equity and justice.  
  • Demonstrated service to historically marginalized communities/ newsrooms led by and serving people of color. 
  • U.S. newsrooms only (including U.S. territories)
  • Commitment to shifting permanently the newsrooms’ coverage of climate from unsolvable and apocalyptic to rigorous evidence-based reporting that holds business, government and other stakeholders accountable and catalyzes communities to take action. 
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