Grist leadership is pleased to announce it has hired Lyndsey Gilpin, the founder of Southerly, as senior manager of community engagement — a new role at the organization.

Gilpin, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, previously worked as a freelance journalist and founded Southerly in 2018. The nonprofit media organization equipped people who face environmental injustices and are most at-risk of climate change effects with journalism and resources on natural disasters, pollution, food, energy, and more. Gilpin, who also served as Southerly’s executive editor, was a John S. Knight Community Impact Fellow at Stanford University from 2020-22, focusing on information access in rural Southern communities of color. During this time, Southerly launched a community reporting fellowship that trained people to do journalism locally, a Documenters program in southwest Louisiana, and partnered with local residents and organizations in rural and underserved areas to create and distribute print materials

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue what Southerly started at Grist, the leading environmental justice newsroom in the country,” Gilpin said. “Deep, sustained community engagement will build trust, make for even more accurate, creative, and thoughtful storytelling, and lead to strong, lasting relationships with folks already working to meet local information needs.” 

Gilpin will build out processes for community listening, journalism and media literacy training, and partnerships with community organizers, residents, and institutions such as libraries, schools, and local governments. Incorporating this approach into news and investigations will help ensure stories not only reach rural, low-wealth communities, and communities of color  — who disproportionately face environmental injustices and barriers to accessing consistent, accurate information them — but also equip people with tools to participate in newsgathering and identify misinformation about everything from industrial projects to disaster relief to climate change. 

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“We’re so lucky to bring Lyndsey on board and learn from her expertise,” said Rachel Glickhouse, Grist’s director of partnerships. “While Grist has done community engagement work, we’re really excited to make it a regular part of our editorial process and approach.”

Gilpin will join the innovation and growth team, which finds creative ways to bring Grist reporting to audiences across the globe in different formats and on different platforms. 

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“What Lyndsey accomplished through her work with Southerly was as groundbreaking and innovative as it was smart and scrappy,” said Grist CEO Nikhil Swaminathan. “Environmental justice coverage is critical to Grist’s mission, and as we began to think about the next phase of our EJ work, a partnership with Lyndsey, bringing her expertise in community engagement journalism to Grist, was a no-brainer. She’d developed exactly the program we thought we needed, and I’m ecstatic to have her on the team.”

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