Features

Chemical Plants, Terrorism and Regulations May Be Back on the Agenda

For years, high-risk U.S. industrial facilities fell under a federal anti-terrorism program to ensure their potentially lethal chemicals would not become terrorist targets. But when the program expired last year, something unexpected happened. Veteran chemical industry reporter Jeff Johnson has a behind-the-scenes look at the maneuvering over how best to secure the country’s dangerous chemical stores.

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Clearing the Smoke — Collaboration Exposes Impacts of Wildfire Pollution-Reporting Rules

Climate change is fueling the frequency and severity of wildfires, but a little-known Clean Air Act rule lets environmental agencies downplay the impacts of wildfire smoke. A collaborative investigation into this loophole connected dots that even the experts didn’t know about. Journalists Dillon Bergin and Molly Peterson explain their reporting process and offer advice for following your own local leads.

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Want To Protect Your Sources? It Helps To Know the Law

With climate-related legal disputes playing out worldwide, we could see more environmental journalists facing subpoenas to access their newsgathering materials and reveal their sources. Case in point: the legal battle embroiling a news nonprofit over its coverage of pipeline protests. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press’ Chris Young looks at shield laws and resources to help deal with legal threats to your journalistic integrity.

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What Francis' Latest Climate Text Means for Upcoming UN Summit

Pope Francis’ planned history-making trip to the latest global climate conference has been thwarted by illness. But his passionate advocacy for the environment still will be felt through his hot-off-the-press apostolic exhortation about the climate crisis. National Catholic Reporter’s environment correspondent Brian Roewe unpacks the pope’s new eco-document and explains how it relates to international climate diplomacy at and beyond Dubai.

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Reporting on Environmental Solutions and Equity — at a Watershed Scale

Reporting on interconnected ecosystems lends itself to better environmental stories, and so tracing how water moves across landscapes, communities, industries and regulatory schemes can help the public connect the dots. That’s how Annie Ropeik, who helps run the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk, sees the watershed beat. She shares expert views and offers insights for environment journalists to use in their reporting.

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Prying Open the Statehouse Doors

Reporting on environmental stories often leads to the state legislature, where key material can be frustratingly hard to access. Whether that’s because the state is deliberately hiding information, has poor systems for sharing it or isn’t even tracking it, there are ways to get what you need. Four seasoned environment reporters offer tips, tricks and commiseration.

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Disabilities and Disasters — What Questions Should You Be Asking Planners?

As hurricane season ramps up, how are the disaster planners considering those with disabilities in your community? Texas-based journalist Greg Harman shares the story of one group that sued their city over claims it failed to properly prepare. And he extracts some rules of thumb to help determine if emergency planners are taking those with disabilities into consideration where you are.

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Storm Warning — How To Prepare for Weather Disaster Reporting

Major storms hit hard and fast. Successful on-the-ground coverage requires advance prep and consideration of how to deal with challenges. Seasoned reporter Emily Foxhall has learned a lot from Hurricane Harvey and other disasters — sometimes the hard way. She shares tips for planning, packing and getting colleagues back home to help with logistics, plus some reminders about self-care.

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Expert Advice Helps Journalists Navigate Unfamiliar Scientific Seas

Journalists who lack a strong science background can find themselves in deep water when reporting environmental stories. How do you avoid over- or understating research findings? What’s the difference between observational and experimental studies? And what about those pesky percentages? Former Washington Post science reporter Rick Weiss and his SciLine colleagues have some answers.

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Watching the Watchers: How Journalistic Teamwork Uncovered Years of Regulatory Failure in Texas

After a massive fire at a Texas petrochemical storage facility, reporters from Public Health Watch and The Texas Tribune worked together to shed light on who was responsible for this disaster and what health threats had been hidden from the public. This behind-the-scenes report from Public Health Watch’s David Leffler and Savanna Strott looks at the challenges the team faced and how they overcame them.

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