Production Blogs

Earth Day and climate change speak to the human experience

Recognizing the importance of diversity in the newsroom and representation in storytelling.

The word ‘diversity’ gets thrown around a lot.

Colleges highlight data showing acceptance of more BIPOC students, companies promote inclusive initiatives, and the United States Supreme Court constantly works to define what diversity means in America.

Research shows that teams with more diverse representation are more innovative — a collective group for a common cause. Diversity leads to enhanced creativity and outside-the-box thinking.

This semester, Annenberg Media developed a source tracking survey to be more intentional about reaching out to sources of differing backgrounds:

We are all made of an assortment of identities — but one experience we all share is our relationship to the environment.

This week, the lead story of Monday’s show focused on Climate Forward 2021, the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, USC Dornsife Center for the Political Future and GRoW@Annenberg’s conversation-driven series focused on advancing climate change issues.

The series lasted four days with panels centering on climate change through the lenses of social justice, business, communication, and politics. Monday’s panel, “Climate Change Roundtable,” looked at how global warming affects vulnerable communities.

In our reporting, we spoke with the moderator of the panel, Effie Turnbull Sanders from the California Coastal Commission. She touched on how development projects have exposed BIPOC neighborhoods to toxic environmental plants and freeway construction, with little to no opportunity for recourse.

When covering such a broad topic, I wanted to schedule an interview with someone from the panel, since the angle itself was more in-depth and required additional context. It’s important to understand the historical nuances of communities disproportionately affected by climate change, and having an expert expand on this subject spoke to the importance of the story.

In covering the panel, we reached out to several USC environmental activist organizations, however, we didn’t hear back. I’m glad we were able to talk with Sanders, as she was able to break down the panel topic and provide more insight.

Our politics segment also focused on climate change, looking at the U.S. and China’s transition to cleaner and more renewable energy. In time for Earth Day, I’m glad we were able to cover this story. It’s important to be sensitive to stories like this, not only when interviewing sources and covering a story, but with people you’re working with in the newsroom.

As mentioned earlier, every person is a conglomeration of different identities. It’s important to keep those in mind when covering a story and be sensitive to what you’re doing. Being mindful of context and nuance can go a long way in storytelling, in and out of the newsroom.