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Berkeleyside Founders’ Fund focuses on visual journalism and climate.
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Berkeleyside Founders’ Fund focuses on visual journalism and climate.

a man standing on the roof of a house in orange light


a man standing on the roof of a house in orange light
Orange skies in Berkeley in September 2020 were partly the result of the climate crisis, a new beat coming to Berkeleyside and supported by this year’s Founders’ Fund. Photo by Aditi Shaikh

California is seeing fires even in winter. There are poisonous algal blooms in the waterways and lakes that have dried up. Coyotes, hungry deer, and coyotes are now venturing into our streets to find food. Air pollution so dense it blocks out the sun, creating an eerie orange cast in our skies.

The effects of the climate disaster are all around us. Some feel paralysed by the problem. Others are motivated to take action.

Berkeleyside is here to help.

As We reported last yearIn June, our newsroom will hire two new journalists: a climate reporter and a transport reporter. We’re doing so in partnership with local journalism nonprofit Report for AmericaAnd CatchLight, a local non-profit dedicated to the development and amplifying visual storytellers.

To underwrite these new exciting areas of coverage for the next two years, we are making the two key positions the focus of our 2022 Founders’ Fund for Local Journalism with the goal of raising $300,000 for two years.

We launched the Berkeleyside Founders’ Fund in 2021 as a way to celebrate the contributions of Berkeleyside’s three co-founders — Frances Dinkelspiel, Lance Knobel and Tracey Taylor. The annual fund supports the growth and enhancement of Berkeley’s highest quality community journalism.

A reporter to delve into all aspects of the climate crisis locally — with global implications

Visible poor air quality in Berkeley, Aug. 2020. Credit to Pete Rosos

How can we, as a community stay informed about the effects of the climate crisis? How will Berkeley, an environmental pioneer in many ways, address the new challenges? How can we tap into UC Berkeley’s groundbreaking climate change research?

Journalism has not done enough to address the climate crisis. The gap is most acute locally, where there are significant opportunities for individual and communal action.

Our climate reporter will produce compelling, Berkeley-centered journalism on the impact of climate change on our natural environment, and examine what’s working and how our car-centric culture has burdened Berkeley residents. This is the heart of discussions around curbing fossil fuel emissions, building transit, pedestrian, and bike infrastructure, and addressing the impact that decades of polluted air from Interstate 80 have had on West Berkeley residents’ health.

Photojournalism is democratic — everyone understands the visual language

Our first on-staff visual journalist will elevate all our reporting with beautiful, engaging photography reflecting the diverse nature of Berkeley’s communities. Photojournalism can create and engage in a unique way. And a photojournalist is the face of the newsroom — the trusted messenger who is seen out and about in the community more than any other member of our newsroom.

These two new positions align with our commitment of building a pipeline for early-career journalists, especially those from underrepresented communities, who may have difficulty getting into the industry.

Berkeleyside is looking for people who want to boost the local journalism in their community. They can support our new climate, transport and visual journalism beats for two years. Donations to Cityside Journalism Initiative. (Please make a note the donation is for the Founders’ Fund.)

If you have any questions about the Founders’ Fund focus and how you can help, email Berkeleyside Co-Founder and Cityside Editorial Director Tracey Taylor.


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