Like global warming, the need for effective climate news is growing more urgent. To meet the moment — and rising demand — a number of colleges, universities, and nonprofits have created programs dedicated to training the next generation of climate reporters and helping seasoned pros ramp up their coverage.
In 2022, mentions of “climate change” and “global warming” in global media were up 38% over 2020, making it the year with the second-highest climate coverage overall, according to the Media and Climate Change Observatory at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Audiences are here for it, too. Large majorities in most news audiences say they are interested in a range of climate-related topics, according to surveys by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.*
And the impacts of climate change have become so pervasive that it’s no longer just a beat — the climate is becoming a frame for all categories of news, from weather and science to politics, technology, economics, and culture and society.
As Jill Hopke wrote for Nieman Reports, “Everyone is a climate reporter now.” Consider, for example, that transportation reporters need to be able to understand climate impacts on infrastructure, while housing reporters must connect the dots between flood zones and insurance rates. Even sports coverage, she says, is not immune as record temperatures trigger heat-related injuries and game cancellations.
So whether you’re an up-and-coming student or a working reporter, read on for a list of schools and organizations offering climate journalism education programs and resources across the U.S.
Climate change trainings for working journalists
- Climate Communication is a nonprofit science and outreach project of the Aspen Global Change Institute. This program connects reporters with credible climate scientists and experts who can speak on it. In addition to organizing workshops and offering one-on-one support for journalists seeking scientific information, Climate Communication offers a library of Quick Facts for Any Story, with topics like sea level rise and cold snaps.
- Climate Matters is a reporter tool kit that enables a nationwide media network to infuse local reporting with data-driven climate insights. Every week, participating reporters across the U.S. receive climate reporting materials in both English and Spanish tailored for over 245 U.S. cities. Today, Climate Matters reporting materials support weathercasters in more than 90% of American media markets at more than 500 stations.**
- A joint project of Climate Matters and Climate Communications, Climate Matters in the Newsroom provides trainings and workshops to help journalists infuse climate reporting across multiple beats, from business and agriculture to health and energy. The Climate Reporting Master Class offers online access to a range of expert-taught learning modules.
- Covering Climate Now partners with journalists and newsrooms to help them ground their coverage in climate science while creating stories that resonate. With 460+ global media partners, the program’s ongoing initiatives include collaborative reporting projects, joint weeks of coverage, and climate journalism awards.
- Earth Journalism Network has trained roughly 14,000 journalists from around the world on a range of environmental issues, including climate change, since 2004. Online resources include tipsheets and webinars, and the network also moderates email listservs to help connect environmental journalists across regions.
- At the University of Rhode Island, the Metcalf Institute’s Science Seminars for Journalists bring together experts in climate change and other environmental issues. Its annual science immersion workshop for journalists also often centers on a climate-related theme; for example, the 2023 focus is on covering the clean energy transition.
- The Society of Environmental Journalists is a membership association of journalists dedicated to more and better coverage of environment-related issues, including climate change. SEJ offers a range of free resources including a climate guide full of free Climate Science 101 tip sheets and a directory of climate change sources and experts.
- The Solutions Journalism Network trains and supports reporters in the practice of solutions journalism in general, with a specific focus on climate news about what’s working. Related offerings include its Climate Solutions Cohort, and most recently, its Climate Beacon Newsrooms Initiative.
Climate change fellowships and grants
- Columbia University: Energy Journalism Fellows Program educates journalists about energy-related subjects, including climate change. Free to journalists, the program takes place annually in New York City, with transportation and lodging included for those who need it. Columbia Journalism Investigations has also offered a Hidden Epidemics Reporting Fellowship, a 6—12 monthlong fellowship with fellows reporting on climate change and communities of color.
- The Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources offers a range of grants and journalist training fellowships devoted to environmental issues like climate change. From weeklong institutes to shorter workshops, training, and mentoring, all programs are designed to support deeper, more explanatory news coverage.
- One Earth Fund is focused predominantly in Georgia and the Carolinas. It provides philanthropic support to fact-based communication projects, including local newsrooms incorporating climate change into their coverage.
- A range of publications offer professional fellowships for climate reporting:
- The Religion & Environment Story Project Fellowship supports journalists, editors, and academics working on stories at the intersection of religion and the environment, including climate change.
- SEJ’s Fund for Environmental Journalism offers a mix of fellowships and awards for environmental journalists, including grants to journalists reporting on climate change issues.
- Ted Scripps Fellowships in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder: Professional journalists are encouraged to “take a break from deadlines” by spending a year in Boulder to audit classes, pursue an independent project in environmental reporting including climate topics, and visit nearby, relevant institutions like the National Center for Atmospheric Research and National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
- Vermont Law Media Fellowship: Media fellows participating in this annual summer opportunity can meet faculty and visiting experts for on- or off-the-record conversations, audit classes, and ultimately enhance coverage of critical environmental issues that include climate change.
Schools that offer climate change and environmental journalism programs
- Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication offers a global sustainability reporting program. Aspiring reporters here can earn a Master of Arts in mass communication through the Cronkite School and a master of sustainability solutions from the School of Sustainability.
- Climate Change and Environmental Reporting at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY — Here students can earn a Master of Arts in journalism with subject concentrations that include specialized reporting techniques for covering climate.
- Michigan State University Knight Center for Environmental Journalism is home to the nation’s first endowed chair in environmental journalism. Undergraduate and graduate students alike can enrich their reporting skills by studying with climate and other environmental experts.
- The New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute offers a science, health, and environmental reporting track, dubbed the world’s oldest science journalism program.
- Northwestern University journalism students can pursue a health, environment, and science specialization at Medill, where climate change is among the specialization areas.
- The University of Arizona offers a science and environmental journalism program designed to train reporters to communicate effectively about science-related issues including climate change.
- The University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism supports a broad range of academic activities and programs for fellows (see above), graduate students, and undergraduates seeking to integrate climate and other environmental topics into their reporting skill set.
- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers a program in environment and science communication, a joint effort between the Hussman School of Journalism and Media and the Environment, Ecology and Energy Program. Students earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies or environmental science plus a master’s degree in media and communication.
- The University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Climate Journalism and Communication helps student journalists learn about climate science and its impacts on different communities so they can tell strong stories that engage audiences. Aspiring reporters can also contribute to a student-led Earth Desk.
Many more schools also offer courses, seminars, and opportunities related to climate journalism. For example, at the University of Washington, students can pursue a climate science minor while pursuing an undergraduate journalism degree. Stanford, UC Berkeley, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison all also offer climate-specific journalism courses.
*The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication is the publisher of this site.
**Climate Matters was launched in 2010 as a National Science Foundation-funded project by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication — the publisher of Yale Climate Connections — and the George Mason University Center on Climate Change Communication, in partnership with Climate Central. Program partners now include AMS, NASA, NOAA, and Climate Communication.