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We’re the Uproot Project, a newly launched network for journalists of color who cover environmental issues, as well as students and others aspiring to cover this beat.
The climate crisis is one of the most urgent issues of our time. Yet, narratives about climate change often fail to point out that everything — from the extreme weather events and the inequalities it will exacerbate, to climate migration — have disproportionate impacts on communities of color. This applies more broadly to environmental coverage, and is a coverage gap that newsrooms have yet to address.
If you’re reading this, you probably already know that. So what’s next?
We want to bring diverse voices to the forefront of environmental reporting. As a network, we’re dedicated to advancing the careers of journalists of color who’ve been historically underrepresented in this field, imbuing journalistic coverage with critical and fresh perspectives. The Uproot Project will connect its member journalists with publications, offer training, and build community as we navigate the work ahead reporting on the environmental crises of our time.
The Uproot Project is open to journalists of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds, but its goal is to uplift and support journalists of color who have been underrepresented in the journalism industry for far too long. Our group is currently funded by and assisted operationally by Grist, a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future. While we plan to one day operate independently, our first priority is to establish the network, welcome new members, and build a network that transforms who tells the stories of one of the most important issues of the century.
The old narrative doesn’t work anymore — it never did. It’s time to take it out by its roots, and start anew.
In the summer of 2019, Grist invited a diverse group of environmental journalists to balmy Seattle for a candid conversation about the challenges we face in our field. The dialogue touched on the need to leverage collective resources, to build an opportunity pipeline, and to drive lasting change in how newsrooms treat environmental journalists of color and their work. Through the process of sharing our experiences, we realized we face many of the same hurdles. Ultimately, this highlighted the need to address an urgent gap: the lack of representation of journalists of color in newsrooms across the country covering communities that are hit first and the hardest by the climate crisis.
Thus, the Uproot Project was born.
We set out to create a network to support the work of our peers, while advancing the careers of reporters of color who have been historically underrepresented in environmental journalism. The group established a steering committee and began hosting virtual work sessions, meetups, and conversations with existing organizations like the Society for Environmental Journalists.
On March 20, 2021, the Uproot Project officially launched for the public. The Uproot Project consists of about a dozen journalists representing Atmos, Crosscut, Grist, Time, the Los Angeles Times, ProPublica, Vox, and more. Learn more about us.
Q: What is Uproot?
A: Uproot is a network of and for environmental journalists of color. We have a growing national membership, composed of journalists from across national and regional media institutions with a goal of bringing these diverse voices to the forefront of environmental journalism.
Q: When was Uproot founded?
A: Uproot was founded in 2019 by a group of environmental journalists seeking change in the industry and launched publicly in March 2021.
Q: Why was Uproot founded?
A: Uproot is dedicated to advancing the careers of journalists of color who’ve been historically underrepresented in environmental or science journalism, imbuing the field with critical and fresh perspectives. We were inspired by other projects, like the Ida B. Wells Society, that uplift underrepresented journalists.
You can read a bit more about our mission here, but the short of it: Environmental journalism has long upheld incomplete and white-dominated narratives about our planet. We want to change that and invite a generation of new voices to make the beat their own.
Q: What will Uproot provide for its membership?
A: As Uproot develops, we will connect our member journalists with publications, offer training, and build community. Uproot is open to journalists of all races and backgrounds, but its goal is to support journalists of color in the fields of environmental and science reporting.
Q: What is Grist’s relationship to Uproot?
A: Uproot’s steering committee and leadership is composed of journalists from a range of outlets, spanning Atmos to Grist to Time Magazine. Grist is a founding partner of Uproot, currently serving as an operational home for us. This includes offering financial support for steering committee members, our work, and production capacity for the events and training that Uproot hosts.
From the get-go, the idea was for Grist to support the group’s creation until we were ready to become independent. We aim to build capacity in order to become our own organization in the near future.
Q: How can interested journalists and prospective environmental writers of color learn more or join?
A: If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Uproot Project, fill out our member survey. Filling this out will give you access to our Slack channel (look out for an invite in your inbox!) and also alert us to what you wish to see Uproot accomplish. This network is by journalists of color and for journalists of color. Your needs and feedback matter. Be sure to fill it out to connect with us and stay in the loop.
Uproot is supported by Grist through the contributions of these generous donors:
Partnership and Speaker Requests
The Uproot Project is taking on limited partnerships and speaker opportunities at the moment. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, fill out the Partnership Request form. If you’re interested in inviting a steering committee member to speak, fill out the Speaker Request form.We should get back to you within 14 days. If you don’t hear back within that time frame or if your request is more urgent, please feel free to follow up at our email: email@example.com.
If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Uproot Project, fill out our member survey. Filling this out will give you access to our Slack channel (look out for an invite in your inbox!) and also alert us to what you wish to see Uproot accomplish. This network is by journalists of color and for journalists of color. Your needs and feedback matter. Be sure to fill this out to connect with us and stay in the loop.