CNN Ramps Up Its Climate Coverage in 2021

By A.J. Katz 

CNN announced Friday that is ramping up its climate change coverage, and expanding with the launch of a new desk dedicated exclusively to the crisis.

“We’ve committed resources to covering Climate for well over a decade, and today, we’re announcing that we are formalizing and expanding our Climate coverage with dedicated force,” CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker wrote in a memo to staff. “Brandon Miller will continue to serve as the Climate Beat Leader in guiding the network’s cross-platform coverage of the Climate Crisis. He will continue to report to Matthew Hilk. Brandon and Matthew will partner with Rachel Smolkin who will oversee all aspects of climate coverage across all of our Digital platforms.”

Bill Weir remains the network’s chief climate correspondent.

With the expansion of the company’s climate desk (which mirrors the expansion of CNN’s Race & Equity team last summer), CNN will be recruiting for multiple new positions, which Zucker outlines in the memo below, obtained by TVNewser:

CNN’s Climate coverage is a multiplatform effort, touching beats and editors across our global newsroom. The global climate crisis encompasses every aspect of our lives and touches every beat we cover; weather, health, politics, business, how we travel, what we eat, buy and consume.

Bill Weir, our Chief Climate Correspondent, and many others across the organization have covered the Climate Crisis from all angles: from how politicians are fighting the climate threat, examining how climate gentrification affects the working class, the impact this crisis is having on farmers, the economy and more.

We’ve produced exceptional specials like The Road To Change: America’s Climate Crisis and Call to Earth. Our @CNNClimate Instagram account is one of CNN’s strongest social properties, informing and educating our younger audiences on stories surrounding the Climate Crisis. And of course, in September 2019, CNN hosted an unprecedented seven-hour live Climate Crisis Town Hall with ten presidential hopefuls, including now-President Joe Biden.

We’ve committed resources to covering Climate for well over a decade, and today, we’re announcing that we are formalizing and expanding our Climate coverage with dedicated force. Brandon Miller will continue to serve as the Climate Beat Leader in guiding the network’s cross-platform coverage of the Climate Crisis. He will continue to report to Matthew Hilk. Brandon and Matthew will partner with Rachel Smolkin who will oversee all aspects of climate coverage across all of our Digital platforms.

The successful partnership between digital and newsgathering with our new Race & Equity team serves as a model for how we will continue to highlight and manage work produced across the entire organization. This new team is empowered to greenlight, assign resources and advocate for more prominent placement on all our platforms to ensure these stories have a powerful impact. Just like Race & Equality, this is not a siloed team, but a team leading and guiding the whole network to do more great work on this critical beat, with key positions embedded across the organization.

We are now actively recruiting for five new positions:

Digital Editor – This editor will serve as the digital center point for all teams working this beat, partnering closely with domestic and international newsgathering and coordinating coverage across Business, National, International, Features and Politics teams and more to prioritize and communicate assignments across the organization. This editor will report to Rachel and be Brandon’s key partner.

Washington Reporter – Policy and the government’s actions and role, including the special presidential envoy for climate, the EPA, Department of Energy, and relevant agencies that impact every aspect of the climate and environment. This reporter will be covering those governing bodies and their leaders with dedicated focus. They will work in coordination with Kristen Holmes, whose coverage of agencies includes climate and environmental policy in Washington. If you, or someone you know, is interested in this Washington position, please email *DCClimatereporter@warnermedia.com.

General Assignment Writer – This digital writer will cover climate-fueled disasters and extreme weather events and trends. They will be focused on the news of the day and week, flexible enough to pivot from doing stories on studies, events, and people that put climate on the radar in new ways, cover conversations in the zeitgeist, and explanatory and service journalism. This writer reports to Cathy Straight’s national team and will pivot beyond US borders as needed.

International Editor – Climate is a global story, shaping our shared home and planet. This editor will work closely with international correspondents, reporters, and writers to shape coverage and set the agenda. They will work to ensure we are covering global governments, accords, and conventions, and key figures on the world stage and will report to Inga Thordar.

Data & Visuals Editor – This editor will work on original data analysis and reporting, create visualizations and graphics, and collaborate closely with the wider Climate team on compelling data and graphics-driven journalism. This position will sit on the digital Visual News team and report to Kaeti Hinck.

If you are interested in applying for these new positions, or know of people we should speak with, please visit WarnerMediaCareers.com.

I want to thank Meredith Artley, Virginia Moseley, Deborah Rayner, Rachel Smolkin, Brandon Miller, Cathy Straight, Matthew Hilk, Inga Thordar, Kaeti Hinck, and Ramon Escobar for their collective leadership in structuring and building this team.

It is our job to accurately tell the stories of our world. This new team will do just that.

Jeff

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