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Unprecedented journalistic collaboration rolls out as climate talks begin in Washington, DC, and the world celebrates the 40th anniversary of earth day

SAN FRANCISCO—Today, in what Ad Age has hailed as “a potentially revolutionary cooperative reporting venture,” seven of America’s most innovative news organizations—The Atlantic, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, Mother Jones, Slate, Wired, and the new PBS current affairs show Need to Know—have launched the Climate Desk, a collaboration dedicated to exploring the impact—human, environmental, economic, political—of a changing climate.

With a combined online audience of more than 25 million monthly unique visitors, 1.5 million print readers, and an anticipated 1.5 million TV viewers, the Climate Desk partnership will bring a vast and influential audience to bear on the issues it covers. During the last two weeks of April, two dozen stories will run on the sites of all the partners as well as; Wired and Mother Jones are also running stories in print.

“It started with imagining the perfect editorial meeting,” said Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, coeditors of Mother Jones. “And climate change provided the perfect lab for this kind of collaboration— it’s a topic so vast and complex, the journalism benefits from pulling together a range of different but complementary skill sets.”

“Not only is this experiment intriguing to participate in, but we all benefit from the skepticism and rigor that comes from having to test your ideas against a whole new set of editors and readers,” said Slate editor David Plotz.

The partners will begin by running a series of articles exploring how American businesses are adapting to the liabilities, risks, and opportunities presented by a changing climate. The series finds that few businesses have grappled with the challenge of adapting to a changing climate—even though many face substantial (and in some cases immediate) risks and/or opportunities for profit. This two-week series, which coincides with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, represents the pilot phase in an ongoing collaboration. Future topics include the various ways that climate change will force us to transform our infrastructure, our military—and even to consider radical geoengineering plans.

Wired is excited to be part of this experiment because we believe that climate change is a massively important science story,” said Wired senior editor Adam Rogers. “Climate Desk partners will be able to combine resources and fields of expertise to shed light on the implications of climate change, and simultaneously tell a compelling story to our readers.”

“During a time of constrained resources, it’s important to be creative about how we cover the big stories of the day,” added Atlantic Online editorial director Bob Cohn. “Collaborating with other innovative organizations to provide our readers with smart reporting and analysis of climate change is just that kind of creative—and exciting—experiment.”

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Marlene Saritzky