Six months ago, our center concluded a partnership with ABC Owned Television Stations called “Covering Climate”, a ten session training program hosted from November 2022 – April 2023. You can learn more about the partnership in this blog post. We recently reconnected with ABC to learn about the impacts and outcomes of our training. Grace Manthey, Data Journalist KABC-TV, was a participant in our training program and answered a short Q&A. Grace shares her experiences in the training, and new projects and developments that have sparked climate storytelling in the newsroom.
What are some of the impacts that our training has made on ABC news outlets?
In general, I think the training inspired a lot of people to do more climate-based coverage. It gave us a few tools and a few sources, but overall I think it made climate reporting more accessible and gave people ideas for stories that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.
For example, the session we had with Casi Callaway and Joe Árvai really showed that there are “solutions” happening everywhere. Just because someone lives in Alabama (or any other conservative state, for that matter) it doesn’t mean that they can’t do climate stories and it doesn’t mean there won’t be anyone to talk to. Most areas have something happening that we can highlight.
That particular session also drove home the point that solutions is really important to talk about when we’re doing climate stories, whether that’s solutions on the individual level or it’s at the government or business level.
I think, in the future, emphasizing things like tools, advice on how to cover climate better in various ways is a good direction to go with a workshop like this.
Have you observed or do you expect climate related stories/projects will continue to grow at ABC?
Absolutely! In August, we launched our Weathering Tomorrow series and every station has done one or two stories around the series each month. Many stations have dedicated reporters doing these stories as well, which seems to be helping them build beats and source lists! (One of the producers at the Houston station actually just told me how much he likes this Weathering Tomorrow climate project and asked when and if we were continuing!)
I know for me, at our Los Angeles station, producers and reporters are always sending me climate-related stories, and every one I do I get a new angle from the people I interview. There’s a thirst for this knowledge and coverage, for sure!