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The Brown Institute for Media Innovation

The Transparency Series – Series 6, Climate Change (Workshop)


A unique set of seminars and hands-on workshops that bring new technology and design ideas to the Columbia Journalism community. The goal is simple — help students learn new ways to find and tell stories, new ways to inform and entertain. Each topic will commence with a Friday evening panel discussion and will follow with a Saturday hands-on workshop centered around building.

Students attending three of the seminar-workshops over the course of the year will receive a graduation award indicating the extra breadth they sought out during their time at the J-School.



Food production. Transportation. Energy usage. Critical infrastructure. Climate change is affecting almost every aspect of our lives. But reporting on climate is challenging, and many journalists feel uncomfortable engaging the topic outside an environmental beat. The subject can be technical, supported by data and models, some of which do not agree.

With this edition of the Transparency Series, we focus on climate change. For previous events, we presented techniques — network analysis, poll interpretation, mapping. This time, our technique is “interdisciplinary collaboration” — working with scientists to tell better stories. In a day-long workshop we will learn from leading climate scientists about how to cast climate as a character in stories, and not just the environment story. Sports? Real estate? Politics? Through collaboration, we can explore many more topics.

The morning will be spent with Gavin Schmidt, Director and leading scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Sciences, and Susanne Rust, Director of the Environmental Reporting Fellows at the Columbia Journalism School. In our time with them, we will survey the current landscape of reporting on climate change, and look to the tools, data and resources that exist for reporters trying to write about the topic. In the afternoon, students will be paired with PhD students in Columbia’s Environmental Science program to come up with pitches of their own–new stories to contextualize the impacts of climate change.