MetroFocus: October 13, 2021

PERIL & PROMISE SPECIAL REPORT: CLIMATE NOW JOURNALISM AWARDS

As our climate continues to change and the number of natural disasters, including right here in New York, skyrockets, the need for powerful, accurate, and inclusive climate journalism is greater than ever. That’s why Covering Climate Now formed a global media consortium made up of hundreds of news organizations, including The WNET Group. Its goal is to strengthen the media’s focus on the climate crisis and encourage in-depth, science-based reporting. This year Covering Climate Now, in association with their partner, the Columbia Journalism Review, is holding their first annual climate journalism awards to honor members of the media who served as models of excellence for journalists around the world in their coverage of the climate crisis. Tonight as part of our Peril & Promise Initiative, we’ll preview and discuss the Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards that aired on NBC News Now and can be viewed online with Kyle Pope, the editor and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, and two of the award winners, Michelle García, a journalist and essayist, and Jeff Goodell, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine. For more information click here.

Peril and Promise is an ongoing series of reports on the human impact of, and solutions for, Climate Change. Lead funding for Peril and Promise is provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. Major support is provided by Marc Haas Foundation and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G.

PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

AS OUR CLIMATE CONTINUES TO CHANGE AND THE NUMBER OF NATURAL DISASTERS SKYROCKETS, INCLUDING THOSE RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK, THE NEED FOR POWERFUL, ACCURATE, AND INCLUSIVE CLIMATE JOURNALISM IS GREATER THAN EVER.

THAT'S WHY COVERING CLIMATE NOW FORMED A GLOBAL MEDIA CONSORTIUM MADE UP OF HUNDREDS OF NEWS ORGANIZATIONS, INCLUDING WNET.

THE GOAL IS TO STRENGTHEN THE MEDIA'S FOCUS ON THE CLIMATE CRISIS AND ENCOURAGE IN DEPTH, SCIENCE-BASED REPORTING.

THIS YEAR COVERING CLIMATE NOW IN ASSOCIATION WITH COLUMBIA JOURNALISM IS HOLDING THEIR FIRST AWARDS TO HONOR MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA WHO SERVE AS MODELS OF EXCELLENCE FOR JOURNALISTS AROUND THE WORLD IN THEIR COVERAGE OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS.

THE AWARDS SHOW IS AIRING THROUGHOUT THE WEEK, ONLINE AT CLIMATE -- COVERINGCLIMATENOW.ORG AND ON NBCNEWSNOW.

TAKE A LOOK.

IT'S BEEN A YEAR OF UNPRECEDENTED CLIMATE CHAOS, A YEAR THE U.N. DECLARED A CODE RED FOR HUMANITY.

JOIN US AS WE SHOWCASE THE BEST CLIMATE REPORTING AROUND THE WORLD.

INSPIRING STORIES OF SURVIVAL AND RESILIENCE.

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM HOLDING POWER TO ACCOUNT.

EYE OPENING FIRSTHAND REPORTS OF THIS MOMENT OF CRISIS.

NOWHERE WILL YOU GET A BETTER PICTURE OF THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY, SOLUTIONS, AND THE BEST COVERAGE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT STORY OF OUR TIME.

WATCH THE 2021 COVERING CLIMATE NOW JOURNALISM AWARDS.

AND JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS THE COVERING CLIMATE NOW JOURNALISM AWARDS AS PART OF OUR ONGOING INITIATIVE, REPORTING ON THE HUMAN STORIES OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND SOLUTIONS IS KYLE, THE EDITOR AND PUBLISHER OF THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW.

KYLE, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY TWO OF THE AWARD WINNERS.

FIRST, WE HAVE MICHELLE GARCIA.

MICHELLE IS A JOURNALIST AND ESSAYIST.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

AND WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY JEFF GOOD EL, A CONTRIBUTING EDITOR FOR ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

HI THERE.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

SO FIRST, THANK YOU, EVERYBODY, FOR JOINING US.

KYLE, I WANT TO ASK YOU TO TELL US ABOUT COVERING CLIMATE NOW AS AN ORGANIZATION.

WHEN DID IT FORM AND HOW DID IT COME TOGETHER?

SO THIS ALL STARTED A LITTLE OVER TWO YEARS AGO, WHEN I WAS -- ONE OF OUR JOBS IS TO SORT OF CRITIQUE THE MEDIA, AND WE'VE GROWN INCREASINGLY FRUSTRATED AT THE LACK OF ADEQUATE CLIMATE COVERAGE, BECAUSE WE DIDN'T THINK THE ATTENTION GIVEN TO THE STORY MATCHED THE THREAT THAT THE WORLD WAS FACING.

SO I HAD WORKED WITH MARK ON OTHER PROJECTS AND WE STARTED TALKING AND STARTED WORKING ON THE STORY TO SORT OF DOCUMENT THIS DISCONNECT BETWEEN WHAT MEDIA OUTLETS WERE DOING AND WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING.

AND WE DECIDED -- THE FIRST THING IS WE WROTE THE STORY, WE PUT ON A CONFERENCE ABOUT THE ISSUE.

THEN WE REALIZED THERE NEEDS TO BE ANOTHER STEP.

WE NEED TO ENGAGE NEWSROOMS IN A WAY THEY HADN'T BEEN ENGAGED BEFORE.

SO INITIALLY, WE FOCUSED ON TRYING TO JUST GET U.S.

NEWSROOMS TO COME TOGETHER TO TALK TO EACH OTHER, TO WORK TOGETHER TO TRY TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS PROBLEM.

VERY, VERY QUICKLY, IT GREW AND GREW AND GREW AND GREW.

TODAY, IT COMPRISES ABOUT 400 NEWSROOMS AROUND THE WORLD WITH AN AUDIENCE OF ABOUT 2 BILLION PEOPLE.

IT'S THE LARGEST BY FAR MEDIA COLLABORATIVE EVER.

AND WHAT WE'RE REALLY FINALLY STARTING TO SEE PROGRESS, WE'RE STARTING TO SEE NEWSROOMS IDENTIFY THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY AS A CRITICAL TOPIC OF CONVERSATION.

WE'VE SEEN A LOT OF CHANGE AND JEFF AND OFFICIAL CAN TALK ABOUT THIS MORE, BECAUSE THEIR PIECES ADDRESS THIS ISSUE DIRECTLY.

BUT THE FACT THAT WE JUST LIVED THROUGH THIS PANDEMIC, WHICH TOUCHES ON A LOT OF THE ISSUES THAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE CLIMATE HAVE, THE IMPACT IT'S GOING TO HAVE.

JOURNALISM HAS DONE AN OKAY JOB COVERING THE PANDEMIC.

SO A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO THINK ABOUT HOW CAN WE TAKE SOME OF THOSE LESSONS WE LEARNED THERE AND APPLY THEM TO CLIMATE?

WE'RE SEEING PROGRESS.

WE'RE HESITANT TO BE ANY MORE BULLISH THAN THAT.

BUT PROGRESS IS GOOD.

BECAUSE FOR DECADES AND DECADES AND DECADES THERE WAS CLIMATE SILENCE.

THAT SEEMS TO BE BREAKING.

WELL, SPEAKING OF THE WORK THAT JOURNALISTS ARE BEING REWARDED FOR, MICHELLE AND JEFF, YOU BOTH WON AWARDS FOR YOUR WORK.

MICHELLE, I WANT TO START WITH YOU.

AND TALK ABOUT THIS ARTICLE THAT YOU WROTE FOR THE NATION, THE MEDIA SUSPECT READY TO COVER CLIMATE APARTHEID.

WHAT IT IS THAT FOR YOU -- FIRST OF ALL, WHAT WAS THE IMPETUS, I GUESS, BEHIND REPORT ON THIS STORY FOR THIS, AND WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE TO WIN AN AWARD FOR WORK THAT HAS BEEN LARGELY OVERLOOKED?

ABSOLUTELY IT'S SUCH AN HONOR AND THRILLING.

IT'S ALSO, IN MANY WAYS, I THINK FOR MYSELF AND FOR OTHER JOURNALISTS, IT'S AN IMPORTANT RECOGNITION THAT SAYS THIS WORK HAS VALUE, HAS A PLACE IN OUR INDUSTRY, AND NEEDS TO BE EXPANDED UPON.

AND THE QUESTIONS OF INEQUITIES, OF ENTRENCHED NARRATIVES, CLASSISM, RACISM, COLONIALISM.

AND THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY AND THIS SORT OF NARRATIVE STORY TELLING PARADIGMS THAT HAVE EMERGED FROM OUR HISTORY ARE IN MANY WAYS STIFLING, CHOKING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS THAT IS UNFOLDING RIGHT NOW.

THE IMPETUS FOR ME WAS THERE WAS A SMALL STORY, I THINK YTH BOARD -- BORDERS COVERED IT, A REPORT FROM THE U.N. ABOUT CLIMATE APARTHEID, AND THE WORLD WAS ON THE PRECIPES OF FALLING INTO A SITUATION OF CLIMATE APARTHEID WHICH WEALTHY NATIONS, LIKE THE UNITED STATES, EUROPE, WOULD BE ABLE TO COPE WITH AND HAVE RESILIENCE TO THE EFFECTS, THE HARSHEST EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CRISIS.

WHEREAS THE COUNTRIES THAT CONTRIBUTED THE LEAST TO THE CRISIS WERE THE MOST IMPACTED.

MOREOVER, WHAT THEY DESCRIBED IS WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW, WHICH IS IT WAS GOING TO RESULT IN MASS MIGRMIGRATION, UNREST, VIGILANTE VIOLENCE, A SORT OF RECHARACTERIZATION OF VICTIMS OR THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SUFFERED THE CASUALTIES OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS.

AND WE CHARACTERIZE THEM INTO THREATS.

AND THIS IS PRECISELY THE KIND OF WORK THAT I'M VERY INTERESTED IN, WHICH ARE THE UNEXAMINED PARADIGMS OF OUR WORK AND HOW WE GO ABOUT IT.

AND SO THAT'S HOW THE STORY CAME ABOUT AND THEN IT TOOK OFF.

OF COURSE, OF COURSE.

JEFF, I WANT TO ALSO TURN TO YOU AND TALK ABOUT YOUR AWARD WINNING ARTICLE FOR 'ROLLING STONE' TITLED 'HOW CLIMATE CHANGE IS USHERING IN A NEW PANDEMIC ERA.'

THAT'S A TOUGH ONE TO SWALLOW, CONSIDERING WE'RE STILL NOT REALLY OUT OF THIS CURRENT SITUATION.

YEAH, THAT'S TRUE.

BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT, YOU KNOW, THE CHANGES THAT WE'RE SEEING IN THE CLIMATE ARE NOT GOING TO -- THIS IS IN A CERTAIN WAY A HARBINGER OF THE FUTURE.

YOU KNOW, I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS CLEARLY DOING IS CHANGING WHERE CREATURES, HUMANS, INSECTS, ANIMALS LIVE.

THERE'S GOING TO BE A GREAT MIGRATION THAT IS GOING ON.

WHETHER IT'S PEOPLE COMING UP ACROSS THE BORDER FROM GUATEMALA BECAUSE OF THE HURRICANES AND THE HEAT DOWN THERE ARE HAVING DEVASTATING IMPACTS ON AGRICULTURE, OR WHETHER IT'S TICKS MOVING UP THE HUDSON VALLEY CARRYING LYME DISEASE.

OR MOSQUITOS MOVING INTO OTHER AREAS AND CARRYING MALARIA AND DENGUE FOOECHER.

SO MY PIECE IS ABOUT THE RESHUFFLING OF LIFE ON EARTH AND THE CONSEQUENCES OF THAT.

SO YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE, AS THE WORLD HEATS UP, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE NEW ENCOUNTERS WITH VARIOUS KINDS OF VIRUSES AND THINGS THAT HAVEN'T ENCOUNTERED EACH OTHER BEFORE.

THAT'S MOVING INTO NEW AREAS CARRYING VIRUSES THAT HUMANS HAVEN'T BEEN EXPOSED TO.

WE'LL HAVE TICKS MOVING INTO NEW AREAS, MOSQUITOS MOVING INTO NEW AREAS.

SO MY PIECE EXPLORES THAT.

IT WAS KEYED OFF OF A -- DURING THE PANDEMIC WHEN I WAS LOCKED DOWN LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.

I READ A PAPER THAT WAS CO-AUTHORED BY ANTHONY FAUCI CALLED 'WELCOME TO THE NEW PANDEMIC ERA.'

IT'S REALLY ABOUT THAT, AND ABOUT THESE CHANGES THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE SEEING.

KYLE, I WANT TO GO BACK TO YOU AND SORT OF ASK, YOU KNOW, BOTH OF THESE STORIES ARE DEFINITELY WELL INFORMED INVESTIGATIVE NEWS STORIES.

WHILE THEY'RE BOTH EXCELLENT, I DON'T WANT TO DISPARAGE THE WORK.

THAT'S NOT THE WAY MOST AMERICANS GET OR DIGEST NEWS.

SO TELL US ABOUT WHAT ARE SOME OF THE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS, ASIDE FROM WNET, THAT ARE BEING HIGHLIGHTED OR APPRECIATED FOR ACTUALLY ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS.

UMM, YEAH, THAT'S A GOOD POINT.

FIRST, LET ME JUST SAY, CONGRATULATE JEFF AND OFFICIAL.

THESE ARE EXTRAORDINARY PIECES OF WORK.

BUT YOU'RE RIGHT.

WE HONOR -- WE HAD SOMETHING LIKE 600 ENTRIES TO THESE AWARDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.

AND WE ENDED UP HONORING ENTRIES FROM ALL OVER THE WORD, INCLUDING THERE IS -- INCLUDING PODCASTS.

THERE'S AN AMAZING PODCAST FROM ALASKA THAT IS ABOUT THE EFFECT OF THE CHANGING CLIMATE ON SPECIFIC INDIGENOUS PEOPLE THERE, HOW THE WHALE HUNTING HAS CHANGED.

IT'S JUST AN AMAZING PIECE OF STORY TELLING IN PODCAST FORM.

WE HONORED A LOT OF TELEVISION, WE HONORED RADIO.

WE HAVE HONORED -- WE HONOR ALL FORMATS, AND WE HONOR WORK FROM LITERALLY ALL OVER THE WORLD.

SO WE DID REALLY MAKE AN EFFORT, AND I THINK WE SUCCEEDED IN IDENTIFYING PEOPLE WHO -- A LOT OF READERS IN THIS COUNTRY, ESPECIALLY MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH, WHICH WE THOUGHT WAS IMPORTANT.

BUT THERE IS AMAZING -- ONE OF THE GREAT INSIGHTS OF THIS WHOLE PROJECT, WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WE WERE GETTING OURSELVES INTO WITH THESE AWARDS.

WE JUST THOUGHT WE WANTED TO RAISE UP WITH GREAT CLIMATE WORK.

BUT THE INGENUITY OF CLIMATE JOURNALISM AROUND THE WORLD HAS BEEN EXTRAORDINARY, IN A WAY.

AND NOT TO DISPARAGE AMAZING JOURNALISTS WITH US TODAY.

BUT IN A WAY, THERE'S MORE GOING ON OUTSIDE THE U.S. IN JOURNALISM.

BUT ANY WAY, THAT'S PART OF WHAT WE WANTED TO DO.

WE WANTED TO BRING THOSE PEOPLE.

SO I ENCOURAGE EVERYBODY TO LOOK AT THESE WINNERS TO EXPLORE ALL THESE STORIES.

IT REALLY IS -- IT WAS REALLY WARMING TO ME.

BECAUSE I MEAN, PARDON THE PUN, IT JUST SHOWED ME LIKE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS, THEY'RE WRITING ABOUT THE SORT OF INTENSE PERSONAL CONNECTION THAT THIS TRANSFORMATION IS HAVING ON THEIR LIVES.

AROUND THAT CONNECTION WITH READERS AND AUDIENCES IS STARTING TO WORK.

OF COURSE, I WANT TO ENCOURAGE EVERYONE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED, EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT REALLY SURE, BUT MAYBE DEFINITELY HEAD OVER TO COVERINGCLIMATENOW.ORG SO YOU CAN SEE A IT WILL OF THE WINNERS AND GET A SENSE OF THE KIND OF WORK BEING DONE AROUND CLIMATE CHANGE.

NOW I WANT TO TURN BACK TO THE TWO JOURNALISTS.

SINCE A LOT OF THIS WORK IS PERSONAL, IN ADDITION TO INVESTIGATIVE, I'M WONDERING WHAT ARE YOUR EXPERIENCES AFTER HAVING IMMERSED YOURSELF IN A STORY LIKE CLIMATE APARTHEID OR THE PANDEMIC ERA.

AND THEN SORT OF STEPPING BACK INTO THE REAL WORLD WHERE YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO STILL AREN'T READY THIS IS EVEN A PROBLEM, AND IF THEY DO ACKNOWLEDGE IT'S A PROBLEM, PERHAPS THEY'RE PARALYZED BY THE SO MANY DIFFERENT FACETS AND COMPLICATIONS AND COMPETING ISSUES INVOLVED IN IT.

SO MICHELLE, I'LL START WITH YOU.

I WAS EARLIER TODAY -- I'M SPEAKING TO YOU FROM BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, ON THE BORDER IN SOUTH TEXAS, WHERE JUST A WEEK AGO, I WAS IN MY CAR PRAYING FOR MY LIFE.

LITERALLY.

BECAUSE THERE WAS A FLOOD, AROUND WE ARE GETTING A LOT MORE FLOODS HERE.

I HEAR THIS HAS INCREASED BECAUSE OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS.

AND THE DRAINAGE IS DISMAL.

AND IT FLOODS ALL THE TIME.

CARS ARE DESTROYED.

PEOPLE'S LIVES UP-ENDED, INCLUDING MINE.

I'M SON SOMEONE'S LAWN, RIGHT?

AND YET ON THE HIGHWAY RIGHT NOW, I SEE A BILL BOARD THAT'S MAKING A MOCKERY OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE BILL.

AS IF THE FLOODING THAT OCCURS HERE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SOMEWHAT IS BEING DEBATED IN THAT INFRASTRUCTURE BILL.

I THINK THERE'S A REAL SORT OF BREAKDOWN.

TWO WEEKS AGO, I WAS IN DEL RIO WITH THE HAITIANS.

AND, AGAIN, WITNESSING HOW PEOPLE WHO ARE MIGRATING ARE, AS I DESCRIBE IN MY STORY, CAN BECOME THROUGH A SORT OF APARTHEID PARADIGM, REDEFINED AS THREATS.

HAITIANS HAVE BEEN UNDER THE BRIDGE FOR DAYS, IF NOT WEEKS.

AND YET SOMEHOW OUR CONCERN IS NOT HOW THAT WAS ALLOWED TO HAPPEN, RATHER IT WAS ABOUT OTHER THINGS ABOUT THE -- RELATED TO THE STORY.

AND THERE ARE CHILDREN UNDER THIS BRIDGE, RIGHT?

THESE ARE THE -- IN TWO WEEKS, I HAVE CONFRONTED THESE VERY IMPORTANT EXPRESSIONS OF THIS CRISIS.

AND HOW DO WE -- DO I GO ABOUT TELLING THESE STORIES IN A WAY THAT DOES NOT KRCONTRIBUTE TO TT WORLD VIEW THAT LOOKS AT PEOPLE AFFECTED BY THE CLIMATE CRISIS AS PITIFUL, HELPLESS PEOPLE, AND HOLD ACCOUNTABLE THE PEOPLE WHO CREATED THE CONDITIONS.

AND AT THE SAME TIME, LIKE I SAID, I WAS PRAYING FOR MY LIFE, AND WONDERING ABOUT THE DISCUSSIONS WE HAVE ABOUT BORDER SECURITY, WHILE THE BORDER COMMUNITIES ARE UNDER WATER.

SO TO ME, THESE ARE ALL HAPPENING ALL THE TIME, AND MY JOB IS TO FIGURE OUT HOW DO YOU MAKE THOSE CONNECTION INFORMATION A WAY THAT RESONATES WITH PEOPLE?

JEFF, SAME QUESTION FOR YOU.

I MEAN, WHAT SIT LIKE TO HAVE THE BURDEN OF THE DEPTH OF THOJ THAT YOU HAVE IN A WORLD THAT STILL -- OR AT LEAST IN A COUNTRY THAT STILL DIDN'T COMPLETELY READY TO EVEN EMBRACE CLIMATE CHANGE AS A FACT?

WELL, I WOULD CHALLENGE THAT A LITTLE BIT.

I THINK THERE'S BEEN A BIG CHANGE IN OUR PERCEPTION OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS, AND IN THE URGENCY OF IT.

I'VE BEEN WRITING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE FOR 20 YEARS.

WHEN I FIRST STARTED, I WOULD TALK TO PEOPLE.

IT WOULD BE LIKE I READ ABOUT THE SEX LIFE OF PORCUPINES OR SOMETHING.

IT WOULD BE CUTE, BUT IT ASKED ME A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS BUT NOT IMPORTANT.

NOW PEOPLE WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT AND HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT IT.

WE'RE SEEING STUFF HAPPEN.

WILDFIRES, DISEASE, FLOODING.

EVERYTHING AROUND -- ALL AROUND US.

AND I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, IF COVID HAS TAUGHT US ANYTHING, THERE IS THIS PARTISAN CULTURAL DIVIDE IN AMERICA, AND THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T BELIEVE THAT, YOU KNOW, THINK THE VACCINE IS CARRYING MICROSCOPIC TRACKING DEVICES AND ALL KINDS OF CRAZINESS, RIGHT?

MY WORK, AND I THINK IN THE WORK OF ALL OF US WHO ARE PART OF IT, WE'RE NOT TRYING TO CONVINCE THE PEOPLE WHO -- ON THAT SIDE THAT THIS IS REAL.

THIS IS NOT A DEBATE WHETHER IT'S REAL OR NOT.

THIS IS A BIG CONVERSATION THAT'S HAPPENING MORE AND MORE PLACES, MORE AND MORE BROADLY.

THESE AWARDS ARE EVIDENCE OF THAT, ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS, AND THE SCALE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

THIS IS NOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE.

THIS IS NOT ABOUT AIR POLLUTION.

THIS IS A CHANGE IN THE OPERATING SYSTEM OF THE PLANET.

AND THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES OF THAT FROM AN ECONOMIC POINT OF VIEW, FROM A HUMAN HEALTH POINT OF VIEW, FROM A FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN POINT OF VIEW.

WE'RE JUST BEGINNING TO GRAPPLE WITH THOSE.

AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT THE WORK HERE WITH THIS -- THESE AWARDS REALLY IS ABOUT.

KYLE, IS THAT PART OF THE POINT PERHAPS OF THIS AWARD CEREMONY, NOT JUST TO -- NOT CEREMONY, BUT AWARDS IN GENERAL, NOT JUST TO HIGHLIGHT THE GREAT WORK THAT SOME JOURNALISTS OR A LOT OF JOURNALISTS ARE DOING.

BUT ALSO TO, AGAIN, TRY TO BRING TO THE FOREFRONT, BECAUSE FOR A LONG TIME, FOR EXAMPLE, I AT LEAST HAD READ THAT THERE WAS CONCERN ABOUT THE FACT THAT WHEN METEOROLOGISTS WOULD TALK ABOUT, YOU KNOW, OH, THIS IS A ONCE IN A 500 YEAR STORM AND THIS IS SO UNUSUAL AND THIS IS SO UNUSUAL, THOSE CONVERSATIONS WOULD BE COMPLETELY DIVORCED FROM THE NOTION OR EACH IDEA OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

AND NOW YOU'RE STARTING TO SEE THAT CHANGE, BUT I WOULD ALSO ASSUME THAT WOULD HAVE A LOT TO DO WITH REGION TO REGION.

WE SEE THESE AWARDS, WE LOVE THAT WE'RE HONORING THIS WORK.

BUT WE'RE TRYING TO TELL A STORY HERE.

AND THE STORY IS, ORGANIZATIONS HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY, IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT JOURNALISM, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY OF TELLING THE STORY.

AND I THINK TALKED EARLIER ABOUT THE PROGRESS.

IF YOU LOOK BACK, EVEN AT IDA THAT HAPPENED, YOU KNOW, JUST A LITTLE BIT AGO, THERE WAS STILL A HUGE GAP BETWEEN WHAT WAS HAPPENING AND THE MENTION OF ITS RELATION TO THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY, ESPECIALLY ON TELEVISION.

SO WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT GREAT WORK, LIKE YOU'RE CELEBRATING TODAY, BUT THERE STILL IS AN ENORMOUS CHASM.

AND I THINK JEFF IS RIGHT.

WE ARE -- WE HAVE MOVED PAST THE DEBATE.

WE'RE NOT INTERESTED IN DO SCIENTISTS AGREE ON THIS.

WHAT DOES THIS SCIENTIST SAY.

THAT -- THAT VERDICT IS IN, AND WE ARE MOVING ON.

SO WHAT WE'RE FOCUSED ON IS HOW DO WE BRING THIS INTO EVERY CORNER, THE POLITICS OF THIS, ALL THOSE PEOPLE NEED TO BE TALKING ABOUT CLIMATE.

DURING THE PANDEMIC, EVERYBODY WAS LOOKING FOR STORIES, AND LOOKING FOR THE PANDEMIC STORY.

THAT IS THE MESSAGE WE'RE TRYING TO GET OUT.

YOU SEE PEOPLE, HOW PEOPLE ARE THINKING ABOUT -- THAT IS REFLECTING CONDITIONS ON THE GROUND.

I LOVE THIS TERMINOLOGY THAT JEFF USED, REWINDING THE OPERATING SYSTEM.

SO WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT IT AS FUNDAMENTAL.

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A -- THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO MAKE SURE WE UNDERSTAND, AND THAT'S WHAT WE WANTED TO CONVEY.

JEFF, I'M WONDERING, DO YOU THINK THAT PART OF THE JOB AT LEAST OF SOMEONE COVERING CLIMATE IS TO ALSO -- OR NOT, AND PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK, IS PART OF THE JOB TO INFORM PEOPLE, NOT JUST TO TELL THEM THE STORY BUT TO INFORM THEM ABOUT THE NECESSARY CHANGES THAT NEED TO BE MADE THAT IF WE AS A COLLECTIVE HAVE ANY HOPE OF SAVING THE SITUATION BEFORE IT GOES TOO FAR?

WELL, I MEAN, YOU KNOW, I DON'T THINK IT'S OUR JOB, MY JOB AS A JOURNALIST TO OFFER SOLUTIONS.

THE CLIMATE CRISIS IS NOT LIKE A BROKEN LEG WHERE YOU GO TO THE DOCTOR, YOU GET A CAST FOR SIX WEEKS AND EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY AND WE GO BACK TO NORMAL.

THIS IS ABOUT WE'RE ENTERING A NEW WORLD THAT IS GOING TO BE VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE WORLD WE WERE IN BEFORE.

AND I FEEL LIKE IT'S MY JOB AS A STORYTELLER TO TELL THE FULL STORY, WHICH OFTEN MEANS WHAT ARE SCIENTISTS DOING, WHAT ARE POLITICIANS DOING, WHAT ARE BETTER SOLUTIONS, WHAT ARE STUPID SOLUTIONS, WHAT ARE CO-APARTMCO CO-OPT PLAYERS.

AND HELP PARSE AND TELL THE STORY AS ACCURATELY AS TRULY AS POSSIBLE.

BUT I DON'T FEEL LIKE IT'S MY JOB TO SAY EVERYTHING IS OKAY OR HERE'S THE WAY OUT OF THIS.

I THINK IT'S -- TOO MANY JOURNALISTS FALL INTO THAT, INTO SAYING THERE IS A SIMPLE SOLUTION FOR THIS.

THERE ARE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO.

NUMBER ONE, CUTTING CARBON EMISSIONS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

ENCOURAGING THE USE OF GREEN ENERGY, ALL THOSE KINDS OF THINGS.

BUT IT'S NOT A FIX.

THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT WE'RE GOING TO FIX.

THIS IS A STORY WE WILL BE TELLING FOR THE NEXT CENTURY.

AND I THINK THE IDEA OF, YOU KNOW, GETTING TO THAT SCALE OF UNDERSTANDING OF THIS IS WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

AND MICHELLE, WE'RE COMING TO THE END OF OUR TIME, BUT SAME QUESTION TO YOU.

I AGREE THAT IT'S NOT -- I DON'T SEE MY JOB AS ONE OF PRESCRIPTIONS AND SO FORTH.

BUT I DO SEE MY JOB AS ONE OF -- I LIKE TO SAY THAT I'M NOT HERE TO HUMANIZE.

I AM HERE TO CONFRONT AND ANALYZE THE FORCES THAT DEHUMANIZE.

AND IN THIS CONVERSATION, WE TALKED A LOT ABOUT WE IN OUR STORY.

THE STORY OF CLIMATE CRISIS AND HOW WE GOT HERE WAS BUILT ON A STORY OF PROGRESS IN THE INDUSTRIAL AGE.

AND EVERY MOVE FORWARD, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO COME UP WITH NEW STORIES TO TALK ABOUT HOW WE ARE GOING TO MAKE IT AS A PEOPLE.

THAT'S GOING TO CAUSE US TO LOOK AT OURSELVES IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

ALL RIGHT.

KYLE, DO YOU SEE THIS -- THESE AWARDS WITH COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW AS SOMETHING THAT DEFINITELY GOES ON AND GROWS AND BUILDS EVERYONE FROM NOT JUST THE SCIENCE OR HEALTH REPORTERS, BUT THE COURT REPORTERS, EDUCATION REPORTER, ET CETERA, ALL START INCLUDING THIS NARRATIVE IN ADDITION TO THEIR BEATS?

I SURE HOPE SO.

AND WE'RE SEEING PROGRESS.

AND ONE OF THE REASONS I THINK IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IS THAT THE AUDIENCE IS THERE.

IF YOU LOOK AT WHO IS READING WHAT ON A LOT OF THESE PLACES.

IT'S FUNNY TO HEAR JEFF TALK ABOUT THIS.

NOW THESE STORIES, MAYBE WE'RE TALKING TO SOMEBODY DURING THE PANDEMIC.

AND THIS PERSON IS SAYING, NOBODY WANTS TO LEAVE OUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE PANDEMIC.

IF YOU TALK TO SOMEBODY -- IF YOU TALK TO PEOPLE WHERE THE AUDIENCE -- THEY'LL TELL YOU THAT -- [ INAUDIBLE ] SO IT'S A LITTLE BIT SHAMEFUL THAT WE DON'T READ AS MUCH AS FOLLOW THE AUDIENCE.

BUT THE AUDIENCE IS LEANING THAT DIRECTION.

ALL RIGHT.

THAT'S A GREAT PLACE TO LEAVE IT.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHERE YOU CAN WATCH THE COVERING CLIMATE NOW JOURNALISM AWARDS, VISIT US ON LINE AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

THANK YOU TO ALL OF MY GUESTS.

THANK YOU.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G.

PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE MARK HAAS FOUNDATION.

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