Good journalism comes when journalists know their communities well, and tell stories about the places they know and love. That means not just listening to their neighbors, but sharing the experiences of breathing the same air, drinking the same water and planting their feet in local dirt. Without the eyes, ears and noses of curious, dogged local environmental journalists we would miss so much of what plays out on the ground across the country.
That’s why I’m choosing to donate to the Society of Environmental Journalists in honor of three reporters I admire, respect and rely on to know what’s happening in their corners of the Western U.S.:
Noel Smith covers the Navajo Nation for the Farmington Daily Times in Farmington, New Mexico. This year she’s been covering the pandemic’s effect on tribal communities in the Four Corners. She frequently files pieces on water and land issues with clear-eyed precision and important context.
Daniel Rothberg is the water and public lands reporter for The Nevada Independent, and covers the state from his perch in Reno. Daniel is able to take the most complex environmental issues in the West and turn them into character-driven stories that are understandable, and a joy to read.
Heather Sackett, a reporter for Aspen Journalism's Water Desk. Heather does yeoman's work in reporting on the inner workings of Colorado's various boards, committees and agencies tasked with managing water in the state. It's a complicated beat with many moving parts, and her stories always give me more clarity into what's going on at a granular level.
These journalists keep their communities well-informed through their hard work and careful observations that only come from really knowing a place and the people who live there. Join me in making sure this kind of journalism stays strong in the years to come with a donation to the Society of Environmental Journalists.