MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: October 13, 2021

Tonight as part of our Peril & Promise Initiative, we’ll preview the Covering Climate Now Journalism Awards that aired on NBC News Now and can be viewed online with Kyle Pope, the editor and publisher of the Columbia Journalism Review, and two of the award winners, Michelle García, a journalist and essayist, and Jeff Goodell, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone magazine.

AIRED: October 13, 2021 | 0:28:36
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH

RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND

JENNA FLANAGAN.

"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G.

PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY

FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE

SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE

ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL

FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND

JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP

MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH

WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA

SOHN FOUNDATION.

>>> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO

"METROFOCUS."

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

AS OUR CLIMATE CONTINUES TO

CHANGE AND THE NUMBER OF NATURAL

DISASTERS SKYROCKETS, INCLUDING

THOSE RIGHT HERE IN NEW YORK,

THE NEED FOR POWERFUL, ACCURATE,

AND INCLUSIVE CLIMATE JOURNALISM

IS GREATER THAN EVER.

THAT'S WHY COVERING CLIMATE NOW

FORMED A GLOBAL MEDIA CONSORTIUM

MADE UP OF HUNDREDS OF NEWS

ORGANIZATIONS, INCLUDING WNET.

THE GOAL IS TO STRENGTHEN THE

MEDIA'S FOCUS ON THE CLIMATE

CRISIS AND ENCOURAGE IN DEPTH,

SCIENCE-BASED REPORTING.

THIS YEAR COVERING CLIMATE NOW

IN ASSOCIATION WITH COLUMBIA

JOURNALISM IS HOLDING THEIR

FIRST AWARDS TO HONOR MEMBERS OF

THE MEDIA WHO SERVE AS MODELS OF

EXCELLENCE FOR JOURNALISTS

AROUND THE WORLD IN THEIR

COVERAGE OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS.

THE AWARDS SHOW IS AIRING

THROUGHOUT THE WEEK, ONLINE AT

CLIMATE --

COVERINGCLIMATENOW.ORG AND ON

NBCNEWSNOW.

TAKE A LOOK.

>> IT'S BEEN A YEAR OF

UNPRECEDENTED CLIMATE CHAOS, A

YEAR THE U.N. DECLARED A CODE

RED FOR HUMANITY.

>> JOIN US AS WE SHOWCASE THE

BEST CLIMATE REPORTING AROUND

THE WORLD.

INSPIRING STORIES OF SURVIVAL

AND RESILIENCE.

>> INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

HOLDING POWER TO ACCOUNT.

>> EYE OPENING FIRSTHAND REPORTS

OF THIS MOMENT OF CRISIS.

NOWHERE WILL YOU GET A BETTER

PICTURE OF THE CLIMATE

EMERGENCY, SOLUTIONS, AND THE

BEST COVERAGE OF THE MOST

IMPORTANT STORY OF OUR TIME.

>> WATCH THE 2021 COVERING

CLIMATE NOW JOURNALISM AWARDS.

>> AND JOINING ME NOW TO DISCUSS

THE COVERING CLIMATE NOW

JOURNALISM AWARDS AS PART OF OUR

ONGOING INITIATIVE, REPORTING ON

THE HUMAN STORIES OF CLIMATE

CHANGE AND SOLUTIONS IS KYLE,

THE EDITOR AND PUBLISHER OF THE

COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW.

KYLE, WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY TWO OF

THE AWARD WINNERS.

FIRST, WE HAVE MICHELLE GARCIA.

MICHELLE IS A JOURNALIST AND

ESSAYIST.

WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

>> GOOD TO BE HERE.

THANK YOU.

>> AND WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY JEFF

GOOD EL, A CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

FOR ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE.

WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

>> HI THERE.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> SO FIRST, THANK YOU,

EVERYBODY, FOR JOINING US.

KYLE, I WANT TO ASK YOU TO TELL

US ABOUT COVERING CLIMATE NOW AS

AN ORGANIZATION.

WHEN DID IT FORM AND HOW DID IT

COME TOGETHER?

>> SO THIS ALL STARTED A LITTLE

OVER TWO YEARS AGO, WHEN I

WAS -- ONE OF OUR JOBS IS TO

SORT OF CRITIQUE THE MEDIA, AND

WE'VE GROWN INCREASINGLY

FRUSTRATED AT THE LACK OF

ADEQUATE CLIMATE COVERAGE,

BECAUSE WE DIDN'T THINK THE

ATTENTION GIVEN TO THE STORY

MATCHED THE THREAT THAT THE

WORLD WAS FACING.

SO I HAD WORKED WITH MARK ON

OTHER PROJECTS AND WE STARTED

TALKING AND STARTED WORKING ON

THE STORY TO SORT OF DOCUMENT

THIS DISCONNECT BETWEEN WHAT

MEDIA OUTLETS WERE DOING AND

WHAT THEY SHOULD BE DOING.

AND WE DECIDED -- THE FIRST

THING IS WE WROTE THE STORY, WE

PUT ON A CONFERENCE ABOUT THE

ISSUE.

THEN WE REALIZED THERE NEEDS TO

BE ANOTHER STEP.

WE NEED TO ENGAGE NEWSROOMS IN A

WAY THEY HADN'T BEEN ENGAGED

BEFORE.

SO INITIALLY, WE FOCUSED ON

TRYING TO JUST GET U.S.

NEWSROOMS TO COME TOGETHER TO

TALK TO EACH OTHER, TO WORK

TOGETHER TO TRY TO DO SOMETHING

ABOUT THIS PROBLEM.

VERY, VERY QUICKLY, IT GREW AND

GREW AND GREW AND GREW.

TODAY, IT COMPRISES ABOUT 400

NEWSROOMS AROUND THE WORLD WITH

AN AUDIENCE OF ABOUT 2 BILLION

PEOPLE.

IT'S THE LARGEST BY FAR MEDIA

COLLABORATIVE EVER.

AND WHAT WE'RE REALLY FINALLY

STARTING TO SEE PROGRESS, WE'RE

STARTING TO SEE NEWSROOMS

IDENTIFY THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY

AS A CRITICAL TOPIC OF

CONVERSATION.

WE'VE SEEN A LOT OF CHANGE AND

JEFF AND OFFICIAL CAN TALK ABOUT

THIS MORE, BECAUSE THEIR PIECES

ADDRESS THIS ISSUE DIRECTLY.

BUT THE FACT THAT WE JUST LIVED

THROUGH THIS PANDEMIC, WHICH

TOUCHES ON A LOT OF THE ISSUES

THAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE CLIMATE

HAVE, THE IMPACT IT'S GOING TO

HAVE.

JOURNALISM HAS DONE AN OKAY JOB

COVERING THE PANDEMIC.

SO A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE STARTING

TO THINK ABOUT HOW CAN WE TAKE

SOME OF THOSE LESSONS WE LEARNED

THERE AND APPLY THEM TO CLIMATE?

WE'RE SEEING PROGRESS.

WE'RE HESITANT TO BE ANY MORE

BULLISH THAN THAT.

BUT PROGRESS IS GOOD.

BECAUSE FOR DECADES AND DECADES

AND DECADES THERE WAS CLIMATE

SILENCE.

THAT SEEMS TO BE BREAKING.

>> WELL, SPEAKING OF THE WORK

THAT JOURNALISTS ARE BEING

REWARDED FOR, MICHELLE AND JEFF,

YOU BOTH WON AWARDS FOR YOUR

WORK.

MICHELLE, I WANT TO START WITH

YOU.

AND TALK ABOUT THIS ARTICLE THAT

YOU WROTE FOR THE NATION, THE

MEDIA SUSPECT READY TO COVER

CLIMATE APARTHEID.

WHAT IT IS THAT FOR YOU -- FIRST

OF ALL, WHAT WAS THE IMPETUS, I

GUESS, BEHIND REPORT ON THIS

STORY FOR THIS, AND WHAT HAS IT

BEEN LIKE TO WIN AN AWARD FOR

WORK THAT HAS BEEN LARGELY

OVERLOOKED?

>> ABSOLUTELY IT'S SUCH AN HONOR

AND THRILLING.

IT'S ALSO, IN MANY WAYS, I THINK

FOR MYSELF AND FOR OTHER

JOURNALISTS, IT'S AN IMPORTANT

RECOGNITION THAT SAYS THIS WORK

HAS VALUE, HAS A PLACE IN OUR

INDUSTRY, AND NEEDS TO BE

EXPANDED UPON.

AND THE QUESTIONS OF INEQUITIES,

OF ENTRENCHED NARRATIVES,

CLASSISM, RACISM, COLONIALISM.

AND THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY

AND THIS SORT OF NARRATIVE STORY

TELLING PARADIGMS THAT HAVE

EMERGED FROM OUR HISTORY ARE IN

MANY WAYS STIFLING, CHOKING OUR

UNDERSTANDING OF THE CLIMATE

CRISIS THAT IS UNFOLDING RIGHT

NOW.

THE IMPETUS FOR ME WAS THERE WAS

A SMALL STORY, I THINK YTH BOARD

-- BORDERS COVERED IT, A REPORT

FROM THE U.N. ABOUT CLIMATE

APARTHEID, AND THE WORLD WAS ON

THE PRECIPES OF FALLING INTO A

SITUATION OF CLIMATE APARTHEID

WHICH WEALTHY NATIONS, LIKE THE

UNITED STATES, EUROPE, WOULD BE

ABLE TO COPE WITH AND HAVE

RESILIENCE TO THE EFFECTS, THE

HARSHEST EFFECTS OF CLIMATE

CRISIS.

WHEREAS THE COUNTRIES THAT

CONTRIBUTED THE LEAST TO THE

CRISIS WERE THE MOST IMPACTED.

MOREOVER, WHAT THEY DESCRIBED IS

WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW,

WHICH IS IT WAS GOING TO RESULT

IN MASS MIGRMIGRATION, UNREST,

VIGILANTE VIOLENCE, A SORT OF

RECHARACTERIZATION OF VICTIMS OR

THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SUFFERED THE

CASUALTIES OF THE CLIMATE

CRISIS.

AND WE CHARACTERIZE THEM INTO

THREATS.

AND THIS IS PRECISELY THE KIND

OF WORK THAT I'M VERY INTERESTED

IN, WHICH ARE THE UNEXAMINED

PARADIGMS OF OUR WORK AND HOW WE

GO ABOUT IT.

AND SO THAT'S HOW THE STORY CAME

ABOUT AND THEN IT TOOK OFF.

>> OF COURSE, OF COURSE.

JEFF, I WANT TO ALSO TURN TO YOU

AND TALK ABOUT YOUR AWARD

WINNING ARTICLE FOR "ROLLING

STONE" TITLED "HOW CLIMATE

CHANGE IS USHERING IN A NEW

PANDEMIC ERA."

THAT'S A TOUGH ONE TO SWALLOW,

CONSIDERING WE'RE STILL NOT

REALLY OUT OF THIS CURRENT

SITUATION.

>> YEAH, THAT'S TRUE.

BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT, YOU

KNOW, THE CHANGES THAT WE'RE

SEEING IN THE CLIMATE ARE NOT

GOING TO -- THIS IS IN A CERTAIN

WAY A HARBINGER OF THE FUTURE.

YOU KNOW, I THINK ONE OF THE

THINGS THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS

CLEARLY DOING IS CHANGING WHERE

CREATURES, HUMANS, INSECTS,

ANIMALS LIVE.

THERE'S GOING TO BE A GREAT

MIGRATION THAT IS GOING ON.

WHETHER IT'S PEOPLE COMING UP

ACROSS THE BORDER FROM GUATEMALA

BECAUSE OF THE HURRICANES AND

THE HEAT DOWN THERE ARE HAVING

DEVASTATING IMPACTS ON

AGRICULTURE, OR WHETHER IT'S

TICKS MOVING UP THE HUDSON

VALLEY CARRYING LYME DISEASE.

OR MOSQUITOS MOVING INTO OTHER

AREAS AND CARRYING MALARIA AND

DENGUE FOOECHER.

SO MY PIECE IS ABOUT THE

RESHUFFLING OF LIFE ON EARTH AND

THE CONSEQUENCES OF THAT.

SO YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE, AS THE

WORLD HEATS UP, YOU'RE GOING TO

HAVE NEW ENCOUNTERS WITH VARIOUS

KINDS OF VIRUSES AND THINGS THAT

HAVEN'T ENCOUNTERED EACH OTHER

BEFORE.

THAT'S MOVING INTO NEW AREAS

CARRYING VIRUSES THAT HUMANS

HAVEN'T BEEN EXPOSED TO.

WE'LL HAVE TICKS MOVING INTO NEW

AREAS, MOSQUITOS MOVING INTO NEW

AREAS.

SO MY PIECE EXPLORES THAT.

IT WAS KEYED OFF OF A -- DURING

THE PANDEMIC WHEN I WAS LOCKED

DOWN LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.

I READ A PAPER THAT WAS

CO-AUTHORED BY ANTHONY FAUCI

CALLED "WELCOME TO THE NEW

PANDEMIC ERA."

IT'S REALLY ABOUT THAT, AND

ABOUT THESE CHANGES THAT WE'RE

GOING TO BE SEEING.

>> KYLE, I WANT TO GO BACK TO

YOU AND SORT OF ASK, YOU KNOW,

BOTH OF THESE STORIES ARE

DEFINITELY WELL INFORMED

INVESTIGATIVE NEWS STORIES.

WHILE THEY'RE BOTH EXCELLENT, I

DON'T WANT TO DISPARAGE THE

WORK.

THAT'S NOT THE WAY MOST

AMERICANS GET OR DIGEST NEWS.

SO TELL US ABOUT WHAT ARE SOME

OF THE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS, ASIDE

FROM WNET, THAT ARE BEING

HIGHLIGHTED OR APPRECIATED FOR

ACTUALLY ADDRESSING CLIMATE

CHANGE NEWS.

>> UMM, YEAH, THAT'S A GOOD

POINT.

FIRST, LET ME JUST SAY,

CONGRATULATE JEFF AND OFFICIAL.

THESE ARE EXTRAORDINARY PIECES

OF WORK.

BUT YOU'RE RIGHT.

WE HONOR -- WE HAD SOMETHING

LIKE 600 ENTRIES TO THESE AWARDS

FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.

AND WE ENDED UP HONORING ENTRIES

FROM ALL OVER THE WORD,

INCLUDING THERE IS -- INCLUDING

PODCASTS.

THERE'S AN AMAZING PODCAST FROM

ALASKA THAT IS ABOUT THE EFFECT

OF THE CHANGING CLIMATE ON

SPECIFIC INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

THERE, HOW THE WHALE HUNTING HAS

CHANGED.

IT'S JUST AN AMAZING PIECE OF

STORY TELLING IN PODCAST FORM.

WE HONORED A LOT OF TELEVISION,

WE HONORED RADIO.

WE HAVE HONORED -- WE HONOR ALL

FORMATS, AND WE HONOR WORK FROM

LITERALLY ALL OVER THE WORLD.

SO WE DID REALLY MAKE AN EFFORT,

AND I THINK WE SUCCEEDED IN

IDENTIFYING PEOPLE WHO -- A LOT

OF READERS IN THIS COUNTRY,

ESPECIALLY MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR

WITH, WHICH WE THOUGHT WAS

IMPORTANT.

BUT THERE IS AMAZING -- ONE OF

THE GREAT INSIGHTS OF THIS WHOLE

PROJECT, WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WE

WERE GETTING OURSELVES INTO WITH

THESE AWARDS.

WE JUST THOUGHT WE WANTED TO

RAISE UP WITH GREAT CLIMATE

WORK.

BUT THE INGENUITY OF CLIMATE

JOURNALISM AROUND THE WORLD HAS

BEEN EXTRAORDINARY, IN A WAY.

AND NOT TO DISPARAGE AMAZING

JOURNALISTS WITH US TODAY.

BUT IN A WAY, THERE'S MORE GOING

ON OUTSIDE THE U.S. IN

JOURNALISM.

BUT ANY WAY, THAT'S PART OF WHAT

WE WANTED TO DO.

WE WANTED TO BRING THOSE PEOPLE.

SO I ENCOURAGE EVERYBODY TO LOOK

AT THESE WINNERS TO EXPLORE ALL

THESE STORIES.

IT REALLY IS -- IT WAS REALLY

WARMING TO ME.

BECAUSE I MEAN, PARDON THE PUN,

IT JUST SHOWED ME LIKE PEOPLE

UNDERSTAND THIS, THEY'RE WRITING

ABOUT THE SORT OF INTENSE

PERSONAL CONNECTION THAT THIS

TRANSFORMATION IS HAVING ON

THEIR LIVES.

AROUND THAT CONNECTION WITH

READERS AND AUDIENCES IS

STARTING TO WORK.

>> OF COURSE, I WANT TO

ENCOURAGE EVERYONE WHO MIGHT BE

INTERESTED, EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT

REALLY SURE, BUT MAYBE

DEFINITELY HEAD OVER TO

COVERINGCLIMATENOW.ORG SO YOU

CAN SEE A IT WILL OF THE WINNERS

AND GET A SENSE OF THE KIND OF

WORK BEING DONE AROUND CLIMATE

CHANGE.

NOW I WANT TO TURN BACK TO THE

TWO JOURNALISTS.

SINCE A LOT OF THIS WORK IS

PERSONAL, IN ADDITION TO

INVESTIGATIVE, I'M WONDERING

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPERIENCES AFTER

HAVING IMMERSED YOURSELF IN A

STORY LIKE CLIMATE APARTHEID OR

THE PANDEMIC ERA.

AND THEN SORT OF STEPPING BACK

INTO THE REAL WORLD WHERE YOU

HAVE PEOPLE WHO STILL AREN'T

READY THIS IS EVEN A PROBLEM,

AND IF THEY DO ACKNOWLEDGE IT'S

A PROBLEM, PERHAPS THEY'RE

PARALYZED BY THE SO MANY

DIFFERENT FACETS AND

COMPLICATIONS AND COMPETING

ISSUES INVOLVED IN IT.

SO MICHELLE, I'LL START WITH

YOU.

>> I WAS EARLIER TODAY -- I'M

SPEAKING TO YOU FROM

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS, ON THE

BORDER IN SOUTH TEXAS, WHERE

JUST A WEEK AGO, I WAS IN MY CAR

PRAYING FOR MY LIFE.

LITERALLY.

BECAUSE THERE WAS A FLOOD,

AROUND WE ARE GETTING A LOT MORE

FLOODS HERE.

I HEAR THIS HAS INCREASED

BECAUSE OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS.

AND THE DRAINAGE IS DISMAL.

AND IT FLOODS ALL THE TIME.

CARS ARE DESTROYED.

PEOPLE'S LIVES UP-ENDED,

INCLUDING MINE.

I'M SON SOMEONE'S LAWN, RIGHT?

AND YET ON THE HIGHWAY RIGHT

NOW, I SEE A BILL BOARD THAT'S

MAKING A MOCKERY OF THE

INFRASTRUCTURE BILL.

AS IF THE FLOODING THAT OCCURS

HERE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH

SOMEWHAT IS BEING DEBATED IN

THAT INFRASTRUCTURE BILL.

I THINK THERE'S A REAL SORT OF

BREAKDOWN.

TWO WEEKS AGO, I WAS IN DEL RIO

WITH THE HAITIANS.

AND, AGAIN, WITNESSING HOW

PEOPLE WHO ARE MIGRATING ARE, AS

I DESCRIBE IN MY STORY, CAN

BECOME THROUGH A SORT OF

APARTHEID PARADIGM, REDEFINED AS

THREATS.

HAITIANS HAVE BEEN UNDER THE

BRIDGE FOR DAYS, IF NOT WEEKS.

AND YET SOMEHOW OUR CONCERN IS

NOT HOW THAT WAS ALLOWED TO

HAPPEN, RATHER IT WAS ABOUT

OTHER THINGS ABOUT THE --

RELATED TO THE STORY.

AND THERE ARE CHILDREN UNDER

THIS BRIDGE, RIGHT?

THESE ARE THE -- IN TWO WEEKS, I

HAVE CONFRONTED THESE VERY

IMPORTANT EXPRESSIONS OF THIS

CRISIS.

AND HOW DO WE -- DO I GO ABOUT

TELLING THESE STORIES IN A WAY

THAT DOES NOT KRCONTRIBUTE TO TT

WORLD VIEW THAT LOOKS AT PEOPLE

AFFECTED BY THE CLIMATE CRISIS

AS PITIFUL, HELPLESS PEOPLE, AND

HOLD ACCOUNTABLE THE PEOPLE WHO

CREATED THE CONDITIONS.

AND AT THE SAME TIME, LIKE I

SAID, I WAS PRAYING FOR MY LIFE,

AND WONDERING ABOUT THE

DISCUSSIONS WE HAVE ABOUT BORDER

SECURITY, WHILE THE BORDER

COMMUNITIES ARE UNDER WATER.

SO TO ME, THESE ARE ALL

HAPPENING ALL THE TIME, AND MY

JOB IS TO FIGURE OUT HOW DO YOU

MAKE THOSE CONNECTION

INFORMATION A WAY THAT RESONATES

WITH PEOPLE?

>> JEFF, SAME QUESTION FOR YOU.

I MEAN, WHAT SIT LIKE TO HAVE

THE BURDEN OF THE DEPTH OF THOJ

THAT YOU HAVE IN A WORLD THAT

STILL -- OR AT LEAST IN A

COUNTRY THAT STILL DIDN'T

COMPLETELY READY TO EVEN EMBRACE

CLIMATE CHANGE AS A FACT?

>> WELL, I WOULD CHALLENGE THAT

A LITTLE BIT.

I THINK THERE'S BEEN A BIG

CHANGE IN OUR PERCEPTION OF THE

CLIMATE CRISIS, AND IN THE

URGENCY OF IT.

I'VE BEEN WRITING ABOUT CLIMATE

CHANGE FOR 20 YEARS.

WHEN I FIRST STARTED, I WOULD

TALK TO PEOPLE.

IT WOULD BE LIKE I READ ABOUT

THE SEX LIFE OF PORCUPINES OR

SOMETHING.

IT WOULD BE CUTE, BUT IT ASKED

ME A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS BUT NOT

IMPORTANT.

NOW PEOPLE WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT

AND HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT IT.

WE'RE SEEING STUFF HAPPEN.

WILDFIRES, DISEASE, FLOODING.

EVERYTHING AROUND -- ALL AROUND

US.

AND I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, IF

COVID HAS TAUGHT US ANYTHING,

THERE IS THIS PARTISAN CULTURAL

DIVIDE IN AMERICA, AND THERE ARE

A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T

BELIEVE THAT, YOU KNOW, THINK

THE VACCINE IS CARRYING

MICROSCOPIC TRACKING DEVICES AND

ALL KINDS OF CRAZINESS, RIGHT?

MY WORK, AND I THINK IN THE WORK

OF ALL OF US WHO ARE PART OF IT,

WE'RE NOT TRYING TO CONVINCE THE

PEOPLE WHO -- ON THAT SIDE THAT

THIS IS REAL.

THIS IS NOT A DEBATE WHETHER

IT'S REAL OR NOT.

THIS IS A BIG CONVERSATION

THAT'S HAPPENING MORE AND MORE

PLACES, MORE AND MORE BROADLY.

THESE AWARDS ARE EVIDENCE OF

THAT, ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF

THIS, AND THE SCALE OF WHAT

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

THIS IS NOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL

ISSUE.

THIS IS NOT ABOUT AIR POLLUTION.

THIS IS A CHANGE IN THE

OPERATING SYSTEM OF THE PLANET.

AND THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES OF

THAT FROM AN ECONOMIC POINT OF

VIEW, FROM A HUMAN HEALTH POINT

OF VIEW, FROM A FUTURE OF OUR

CHILDREN POINT OF VIEW.

WE'RE JUST BEGINNING TO GRAPPLE

WITH THOSE.

AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT THE WORK

HERE WITH THIS -- THESE AWARDS

REALLY IS ABOUT.

>> KYLE, IS THAT PART OF THE

POINT PERHAPS OF THIS AWARD

CEREMONY, NOT JUST TO -- NOT

CEREMONY, BUT AWARDS IN GENERAL,

NOT JUST TO HIGHLIGHT THE GREAT

WORK THAT SOME JOURNALISTS OR A

LOT OF JOURNALISTS ARE DOING.

BUT ALSO TO, AGAIN, TRY TO BRING

TO THE FOREFRONT, BECAUSE FOR A

LONG TIME, FOR EXAMPLE, I AT

LEAST HAD READ THAT THERE WAS

CONCERN ABOUT THE FACT THAT WHEN

METEOROLOGISTS WOULD TALK ABOUT,

YOU KNOW, OH, THIS IS A ONCE IN

A 500 YEAR STORM AND THIS IS SO

UNUSUAL AND THIS IS SO UNUSUAL,

THOSE CONVERSATIONS WOULD BE

COMPLETELY DIVORCED FROM THE

NOTION OR EACH IDEA OF CLIMATE

CHANGE.

AND NOW YOU'RE STARTING TO SEE

THAT CHANGE, BUT I WOULD ALSO

ASSUME THAT WOULD HAVE A LOT TO

DO WITH REGION TO REGION.

>> WE SEE THESE AWARDS, WE LOVE

THAT WE'RE HONORING THIS WORK.

BUT WE'RE TRYING TO TELL A STORY

HERE.

AND THE STORY IS, ORGANIZATIONS

HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY, IF YOU'RE

GOING TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT

JOURNALISM, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A

RESPONSIBILITY OF TELLING THE

STORY.

AND I THINK TALKED EARLIER ABOUT

THE PROGRESS.

IF YOU LOOK BACK, EVEN AT IDA

THAT HAPPENED, YOU KNOW, JUST A

LITTLE BIT AGO, THERE WAS STILL

A HUGE GAP BETWEEN WHAT WAS

HAPPENING AND THE MENTION OF ITS

RELATION TO THE CLIMATE

EMERGENCY, ESPECIALLY ON

TELEVISION.

SO WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT GREAT

WORK, LIKE YOU'RE CELEBRATING

TODAY, BUT THERE STILL IS AN

ENORMOUS CHASM.

AND I THINK JEFF IS RIGHT.

WE ARE -- WE HAVE MOVED PAST THE

DEBATE.

WE'RE NOT INTERESTED IN DO

SCIENTISTS AGREE ON THIS.

WHAT DOES THIS SCIENTIST SAY.

THAT -- THAT VERDICT IS IN, AND

WE ARE MOVING ON.

SO WHAT WE'RE FOCUSED ON IS HOW

DO WE BRING THIS INTO EVERY

CORNER, THE POLITICS OF THIS,

ALL THOSE PEOPLE NEED TO BE

TALKING ABOUT CLIMATE.

DURING THE PANDEMIC, EVERYBODY

WAS LOOKING FOR STORIES, AND

LOOKING FOR THE PANDEMIC STORY.

THAT IS THE MESSAGE WE'RE TRYING

TO GET OUT.

YOU SEE PEOPLE, HOW PEOPLE ARE

THINKING ABOUT -- THAT IS

REFLECTING CONDITIONS ON THE

GROUND.

I LOVE THIS TERMINOLOGY THAT

JEFF USED, REWINDING THE

OPERATING SYSTEM.

SO WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT IT AS

FUNDAMENTAL.

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A --

THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO MAKE

SURE WE UNDERSTAND, AND THAT'S

WHAT WE WANTED TO CONVEY.

>> JEFF, I'M WONDERING, DO YOU

THINK THAT PART OF THE JOB AT

LEAST OF SOMEONE COVERING

CLIMATE IS TO ALSO -- OR NOT,

AND PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU

THINK, IS PART OF THE JOB TO

INFORM PEOPLE, NOT JUST TO TELL

THEM THE STORY BUT TO INFORM

THEM ABOUT THE NECESSARY CHANGES

THAT NEED TO BE MADE THAT IF WE

AS A COLLECTIVE HAVE ANY HOPE OF

SAVING THE SITUATION BEFORE IT

GOES TOO FAR?

>> WELL, I MEAN, YOU KNOW, I

DON'T THINK IT'S OUR JOB, MY JOB

AS A JOURNALIST TO OFFER

SOLUTIONS.

THE CLIMATE CRISIS IS NOT LIKE A

BROKEN LEG WHERE YOU GO TO THE

DOCTOR, YOU GET A CAST FOR SIX

WEEKS AND EVERYTHING WILL BE

OKAY AND WE GO BACK TO NORMAL.

THIS IS ABOUT WE'RE ENTERING A

NEW WORLD THAT IS GOING TO BE

VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE WORLD WE

WERE IN BEFORE.

AND I FEEL LIKE IT'S MY JOB AS A

STORYTELLER TO TELL THE FULL

STORY, WHICH OFTEN MEANS WHAT

ARE SCIENTISTS DOING, WHAT ARE

POLITICIANS DOING, WHAT ARE

BETTER SOLUTIONS, WHAT ARE

STUPID SOLUTIONS, WHAT ARE

CO-APARTMCO

CO-OPT PLAYERS.

AND HELP PARSE AND TELL THE

STORY AS ACCURATELY AS TRULY AS

POSSIBLE.

BUT I DON'T FEEL LIKE IT'S MY

JOB TO SAY EVERYTHING IS OKAY OR

HERE'S THE WAY OUT OF THIS.

I THINK IT'S -- TOO MANY

JOURNALISTS FALL INTO THAT, INTO

SAYING THERE IS A SIMPLE

SOLUTION FOR THIS.

THERE ARE IMPORTANT THINGS TO

DO.

NUMBER ONE, CUTTING CARBON

EMISSIONS AS QUICKLY AS

POSSIBLE.

ENCOURAGING THE USE OF GREEN

ENERGY, ALL THOSE KINDS OF

THINGS.

BUT IT'S NOT A FIX.

THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT WE'RE

GOING TO FIX.

THIS IS A STORY WE WILL BE

TELLING FOR THE NEXT CENTURY.

AND I THINK THE IDEA OF, YOU

KNOW, GETTING TO THAT SCALE OF

UNDERSTANDING OF THIS IS WHAT IS

REALLY IMPORTANT.

>> AND MICHELLE, WE'RE COMING TO

THE END OF OUR TIME, BUT SAME

QUESTION TO YOU.

>> I AGREE THAT IT'S NOT -- I

DON'T SEE MY JOB AS ONE OF

PRESCRIPTIONS AND SO FORTH.

BUT I DO SEE MY JOB AS ONE OF --

I LIKE TO SAY THAT I'M NOT HERE

TO HUMANIZE.

I AM HERE TO CONFRONT AND

ANALYZE THE FORCES THAT

DEHUMANIZE.

AND IN THIS CONVERSATION, WE

TALKED A LOT ABOUT WE IN OUR

STORY.

THE STORY OF CLIMATE CRISIS AND

HOW WE GOT HERE WAS BUILT ON A

STORY OF PROGRESS IN THE

INDUSTRIAL AGE.

AND EVERY MOVE FORWARD, WE'RE

GOING TO HAVE TO COME UP WITH

NEW STORIES TO TALK ABOUT HOW WE

ARE GOING TO MAKE IT AS A

PEOPLE.

THAT'S GOING TO CAUSE US TO LOOK

AT OURSELVES IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

>> ALL RIGHT.

KYLE, DO YOU SEE THIS -- THESE

AWARDS WITH COLUMBIA JOURNALISM

REVIEW AS SOMETHING THAT

DEFINITELY GOES ON AND GROWS AND

BUILDS EVERYONE FROM NOT JUST

THE SCIENCE OR HEALTH REPORTERS,

BUT THE COURT REPORTERS,

EDUCATION REPORTER, ET CETERA,

ALL START INCLUDING THIS

NARRATIVE IN ADDITION TO THEIR

BEATS?

>> I SURE HOPE SO.

AND WE'RE SEEING PROGRESS.

AND ONE OF THE REASONS I THINK

IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IS THAT THE

AUDIENCE IS THERE.

IF YOU LOOK AT WHO IS READING

WHAT ON A LOT OF THESE PLACES.

IT'S FUNNY TO HEAR JEFF TALK

ABOUT THIS.

NOW THESE STORIES, MAYBE WE'RE

TALKING TO SOMEBODY DURING THE

PANDEMIC.

AND THIS PERSON IS SAYING,

NOBODY WANTS TO LEAVE OUT

ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE

PANDEMIC.

IF YOU TALK TO SOMEBODY -- IF

YOU TALK TO PEOPLE WHERE THE

AUDIENCE --

THEY'LL TELL YOU THAT --

[ INAUDIBLE ]

SO IT'S A LITTLE BIT SHAMEFUL

THAT WE DON'T READ AS MUCH AS

FOLLOW THE AUDIENCE.

BUT THE AUDIENCE IS LEANING THAT

DIRECTION.

>> ALL RIGHT.

THAT'S A GREAT PLACE TO LEAVE

IT.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHERE

YOU CAN WATCH THE COVERING

CLIMATE NOW JOURNALISM AWARDS,

VISIT US ON LINE AT

METROFOCUS.ORG.

THANK YOU TO ALL OF MY GUESTS.

THANK YOU.

>>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE

POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR

WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND

SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING

ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G.

PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY

FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE

SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE

ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL

FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND

JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP

MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH

WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA

SOHN FOUNDATION,

THE MARK HAAS FOUNDATION.

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