Carbon-neutral Indiana sponsors student journalists from Purdue University to cover climate

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Did you know that in the state of Indiana, with 6 million inhabitants, there are only a handful of journalists who cover the environment?

Carbon Neutral Indiana is working to change that with a program that sponsors Purdue University students to report on climate and greenhouse gases using solutions journalism.

“This program increases climate coverage and moves that coverage toward solutions. Many people despair of climate change. Solutions journalism reminds us of our agency and the miraculous power of the God-given imagination. It also points the way to the emerging and exciting field of climate technology, which can become Indiana’s next biotech,” Daniel Poynter, founder of Carbon Neutral Indiana, told Indiana Environmental Reporter.

Last fall, the program started with one student and now has six students. Each student receives funding, $500 per semester, and a network of connections.

“The environment is such a big topic. At Carbon Neutral Indiana, we focus solely on carbon, so reporting is consistent with that.

Solutions journalism shows how people react to problems, what works, what doesn’t and why.

“A climate solutions reporter doesn’t just write good stuff. We’re not trying to be soft and we’re not trying to put people to shame either. We’re trying to shine a light on the opportunities that show up overall,” Poynter said. “For example. Can Purdue reduce emissions? Can we implement at Purdue what has been implemented elsewhere.

As part of this program, PU’s independent student newspaper, The Exponent, which is published twice a week, is expected to have an in-depth climate story in almost every issue.

“The truth is that a lot of local newspapers are having pretty serious financial difficulties. It’s true for the local newspaper here. For many stories, The Exponent might be the only local outlet covering that particular climate angle. If the exponent doesn’t cover it, there’s a non-zero chance of it being discovered,” Lucas Bleyle, a Purdue student and climate reporter for the Purdue Exponent, told Indiana Environmental Reporter.

Bleyle, a junior, will continue his work as a climate journalist next year.

“Local coverage of climate change helps make climate impacts and solutions more visible to students and residents,” Bleyle said. “This type of reporting is critical to helping the West Lafayette and Purdue community make informed decisions in the face of climate change.”

He added that the hope is to create a program that fits in with The Exponent as an organization so that it can serve readers for many years, if not decades, to come.

“While the program receives financial support from CNI, all reporting is done independently and with the highest level of journalistic integrity. CNI does not have the ability to influence the content of stories,” Bleyle said.

Anyone interested in learning more about sponsorships can contact CNI here.

“Once this is going well at Purdue, we want the program at every university in the state,” Poynter said. “If anyone is interested in sponsorship, they can contact us. We would like to expand. »

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