A new, ongoing reporting project from New Hampshire Public Radio will take a deeper look at climate change in our state and the region, and its impact on policies, industries, communities and individuals.
Beginning the week of July 13, NHPR will launch “By Degrees” – an effort to bring meaningful, useful and compelling stories about climate change to a wider audience. With COVID-19 and a nationwide push for racial justice as the backdrop, “By Degrees” will explore climate causes, impacts and responses in New Hampshire during an unprecedented time. The project will include regular news features that run on-air and on the web, digital and data journalism, in-depth talk show conversations, community engagement and – eventually – in-person events.
Community feedback informed by other environmental and political reporting at the station points to climate change being one of the most important issues on the minds of NHPR listeners and other citizens. The effects of climate change are documented in New Hampshire and New England: weather changes that threaten tourism, recreation-related industries, farming and urban communities; rising sea levels and warming waters along the Seacoast and in the Gulf of Maine that impact the economy, towns, wildlife, and cultural heritage; and individual and community clashes where environmental and economic interests collide. The stories of By Degrees will be set in this dynamic moment, when COVID-19 has laid bare the inequities that climate change will exacerbate and the possibilities of large-scale response, and when more people than ever are considering how climate and racial justice intersect. Add to that national, state and local politics and the often divergent interests of activism and industry – and climate change offers a rich vein of stories, conversations and policy analysis to which NHPR’s newsroom will seek to bring context and clarity.
“We seek to advance the conversation around climate change in New Hampshire and throughout our region with reporting that informs, empowers and ultimately engages both policymakers and the public around this issue,” said Cori Princell, managing editor at NHPR. “As we launch this project, the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice demonstrations add layers of complexity to the climate change conversation. What happens to efforts to address climate change during an ongoing public health and economic crisis? How does a pandemic highlight underlying economic, social and policy challenges that are also tied to climate and environmental issues? And how can we tackle so many problems at once? We will pursue these questions and many more in the course of our news gathering and reporting.”
NHPR’s Seacoast, environment and energy reporter Annie Ropeik is the lead reporter on this project, but will be working with other colleagues throughout the NHPR newsroom to expand upon regional, topical and demographic issues tied to climate change. Stories ranging from ecological threats and the impact of climate change on public health, to renewable energy, consumerism and environmental justice are examples of some of the topics By Degrees will explore. Graphics, charts, custom visuals and other digital storytelling tools will illustrate and help clarify data, research and scientific concepts around climate change.
The questions, concerns and experiences of our audience members will also be key to the project. Using surveys, social media and tools like voice memos, By Degrees will tap into the audience engagement skills the NHPR newsroom has developed during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing project leaders to stay closely connected to the information needs and curiosities of the audience.
Reporting on environmental issues and the outdoors is a focus of NHPR’s newsroom and podcast coverage. Outside/In – a podcast about the natural world and how we use it – launched in 2015; the podcast also features on-air on NHPR Saturdays at 11 a.m. Another podcast – Patient Zero – came along in 2019, looking at the mysteries and controversies around tick-borne Lyme disease. In addition, NHPR airs the broadcast feature “Something Wild”, exploring the wonders of the New Hampshire landscape each Friday morning during Morning Edition. The feature – produced in collaboration with the Society for New Hampshire Forests and NH Audubon – has aired on NHPR for more than 20 years. In related programming, Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown fields listener questions about the mysteries and quirks of the natural world every other Friday morning during the Ask Sam segment on Morning Edition on NHPR.
“When people think of New Hampshire, they think of our mountains, our lakes, our natural attractions and the many recreational opportunities to enjoy as a result,” said Jim Schachter, President & CEO of NHPR. “With this project, we’ll be hearing directly from people across the state about what they want to know about climate change and how it’s impacting the outdoor places they cherish. Our natural surroundings bind us all together – so we want to hear from a broad swath of audiences: students and young people, entrepreneurs, outdoor enthusiasts, people of color, and urban and rural populations impacted in different ways by climate change.”
Climate change reporting will primarily originate from New Hampshire, but regional issues and perspectives will also be incorporated, in conjunction with other public media organizations in New England and through the work of the New England News Collaborative, a consortium of public media newsrooms of which NHPR is a member.
HOW TO FIND REPORTING FROM BY DEGREES:
Stories relating to climate change can all be viewed via a comprehensive landing page on the NHPR.org website at nhpr.org/climate. Online readers will be able to access interactive resources and stories on the following aspects of climate reporting:
- Weather & Sea Level Rise
- Plants & Animals
- Transportation & Infrastructure
- Politics & Policy
- Jobs & Economy
- Climate & Health
- Climate Justice & Activism
In addition, listeners and online readers are encouraged to share their stories or ideas around climate reporting via the following platforms on the nhpr.org/climate landing page, with additional content to be added after the project launches.
- Your Climate Questions Answered - readers can submit their questions here and look for answers from our reporting team.
- How We Report on Climate - a backgrounder clarifying how the NHPR newsroom and its climate reporting staff approaches this issue.
The station will also launch its dashboard for By Degrees at nhpr.org/climate, which will connect our audience to both our new engagement tools and the rich reporting NHPR has done for years on climate issues. A weekly newsletter tied to the project will launch in the fall. [Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up in advance to receive the newsletter]
Interested audiences can start following the project now at @nhprclimate on Twitter.
Events. In-person events will be scheduled at a later date. Small engagements will aim to foster civil, natural conversations around climate change issues and may inform future reporting.
WHERE TO LISTEN:
On-air – NHPR reporters and producers plan to file 12 to 24 By Degrees stories each year, primarily appearing in Morning Edition and All Things Considered weekdays on NHPR. The series will kick off with an interview with Annie Ropeik in Morning Edition on Monday, July 13, introducing the project and inviting audience involvement. News features that first week will look at:
- the changes many people have made over the past few months and whether that could affect their actions around climate change
- social and economic inequities in New Hampshire’s urban areas when it comes to accessing cooling as the region warms
- new solutions being explored to reduce the amount of waste going into the state’s landfills
Additional interviews on Morning Edition and All Things Considered that week will look at climate activism and air pollution.
The Exchange: NHPR’s weekday talk show will air regular episodes related to climate change, produced in conjunction with other By Degrees reporting. During the week of July 13, The Exchange will have a show about environmental and climate justice and the links to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Podcasts: Reporting originating in the By Degrees project will be shared in relevant NHPR podcasts, along with special podcast-specific stories.
NOTE: The By Degrees reporting project is made possible in part by the generous support of the Fund for Environmental Journalism of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Since 1981, New Hampshire Public Radio has shaped the media landscape in the Granite State and beyond. Our mission is “Expanding minds, sparking connections, building stronger communities.” NHPR is broadcast from 14 different sites, making it by far New Hampshire’s largest (and only) statewide radio news service. Every week, NHPR is the choice of 157,000 listeners as a primary source of in-depth and intelligent news coverage, with thousands more viewing NHPR.org, following our social media sites or listening to our podcasts. Each day, New Hampshire Public Radio delivers several hours of local news reported by its award-winning news team. Locally produced programs and podcasts include The Exchange, The Folk Show, Outside/In, and Civics 101, among others. NHPR is the exclusive outlet for NPR News in the Granite State and broadcasts national weekly programs such as The Moth Radio Hour, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, and This American Life. Visit nhpr.org to access our news and information.