Feb 15, 2022 - Economy

Exclusive: AP adds 20 positions to new climate desk

Illustration of an arrow pointing forward patterned with the Earth's surface

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Associated Press plans to hire roughly 20 journalists across Africa, Brazil, India and the U.S. to expand its coverage of climate change, per deputy managing editor Sarah Nordgren.

Why it matters: The new climate desk is backed by roughly $8 million in funding from various philanthropies, including Quadrivium, the foundation run by James and Kathryn Murdoch, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.

  • Axios reported last year that the Murdochs were nearing a deal to make a multimillion-dollar investment to support the formation of a new climate reporting hub at the AP.
  • The AP often receives backing from nonprofits to fund new coverage areas and says it retains complete editorial control of all content with each partnership.

Details: A large focus of the new initiative will be to add reporters that are dedicated to the intersection of climate with the economy, as well as other issues, like the impact of climate change on food, migration, housing and urban planning, disaster response, and culture.

  • "The exciting thing for me is climate is everybody’s beat now," Nordgren told Axios. "And while we’ll have a lot of people fully-dedicated to climate, we'll also have the ability to infuse the entire organization with climate news."

The new climate desk also aims to produce more localized climate stories, including working with partner news agencies abroad to produce more localized climate coverage in multiple languages.

  • In the U.S., the AP will launch a "StoryShare," for climate change, which is a shared content network between local news outlets, later this year.

The big picture: Many outlets are ramping up their coverage of climate in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which exacerbated some climate-driven issues, like affordable housing.

  • The Washington Post said last week that it too planned to add more than 20 new positions dedicated to covering climate.

What's next: The AP has plans to expand the initiative further in the Amazon, Asia and Europe, with a focus on topics like emerging technologies, natural resources and famine.

What to watch: In addition to climate, the AP has also made education a central focus for coverage in 2022.

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