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Audience for Grist’s Coverage of “Poverty & the Environment” Surpasses 2.6 Million

Broad interest in seven-week series on economy, ecology reaffirms Grist’s position as the nation’s leading source for daily coverage of the environment

Grist (www.grist.org), the world’s leading source of daily news and opinion on the environment, today announced that the audience for its seven-week series on poverty and the environment had surpassed 2.6 million readers, making it the most popular special series in Grist‘s seven-year history. In addition to the 600,000 unique users who currently read Grist each month, more than a dozen leading news and information websites have reprinted or summarized articles from Grist‘s poverty series since it premiered last month.

“The deep interest and public dialogue that our poverty coverage has generated is invigorating,” said Chip Giller, Grist‘s founder and editor. “The popularity of this special series should remind all members of the news media that there is a significant audience for substantive, feature-length reporting on issues of social consequence.”

Grist‘s seven-week series is designed to shed light on frequently hidden environmental problems and expose the connections between economic and ecological survival. Coverage has included investigative reports, opinion pieces, interviews, and profiles, as well as a series of multimedia “virtual walking tours” of poverty-stricken regions around the country, led by the community members who are fighting to transform them.

“With more than 37 million Americans now living below the poverty line, Grist thought it critical to focus on the environmental realities facing those who struggle every day to make ends meet,” Giller said. “By reporting on poverty through an environmental lens, Grist has tapped into something our readers care deeply about.”

According to Giller, the series is built on the premise that the lower your income in this country, the higher the likelihood that you will be exposed to toxics at home and on the job. The greater the risk that you will suffer from diseases caused or exacerbated by environmental factors. The harder it will be for you to find and afford healthy food to put on your table. The less likely you are to live in a community that provides safe outdoor spaces for you and your family to enjoy. And, as recent history tragically exposed, the more vulnerable you are to environmental catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina. In short, the worst consequences of environmental degradation are visited on the homes, workplaces, families, and bodies of the poor.

Coverage has ranged from to an investigation into how mountaintop-removal is destroying Appalachia, to an interview with the founder of the environmental-justice movement, to a feature on a farmers’ market that is brightening a blighted neighborhood in Brooklyn. Through stories such as “Finger Lickin’ Bad: How poultry producers are damaging the rural South,” and “Walk This Way: A virtual walking tour of Columbia, Miss., with Charlotte Keys of Jesus People Against Pollution,” Grist hopes to use the series to challenge and change the received wisdom about what counts as an environmental issue and where, how, and for whom environmentally minded organizations and people should dedicate their energies. Online news outlets that have reprinted parts of the poverty series include MSNBC.com, About.com, AlterNet, The Nation, and Treehugger.com. The seven-week series launched on February 13, 2006, and runs through the end of March. To learn more, visit the series overview on Grist‘s website.

About Grist
The nonprofit, independent, online magazine Grist (www.grist.org) was founded in April 1999, and over the past seven years has developed the most recognizable voice in environmental journalism: funny, opinionated, and intelligent. Grist offers in-depth reporting, opinions, cartoons, book reviews, advice, and more—all tailored to inform, entertain, provoke and encourage its readers to think creatively about environmental problems and solutions.

Each month, Grist reaches 600,000 unique individuals through its website and emails, having particular success reaching people under the age of 40. Through syndication arrangements with other media outlets like MSNBC.com and Salon.com, Grist is reaching an even broader audience that extends into the millions. Readers include environmental leaders, policy makers, journalists, educators, students, and other concerned citizens. In 2005, Grist received a Webby for best internet magazine, one of the web’s premier awards.