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Bradenton Herald joins other newsrooms to report on state’s biggest threat — climate change

Explaining climate change

An introduction to the causes of modern-day climate change, signs that the climate is already changing, and how climate change affects the environment and human well-being.
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An introduction to the causes of modern-day climate change, signs that the climate is already changing, and how climate change affects the environment and human well-being.

Climate change is the story of Florida’s future. No other state has as much at risk.

That’s why the Bradenton Herald is joining other leading news organizations in Florida in a partnership to share stories and work together to report on the complex challenges of climate change. The founding members include the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times, the Palm Beach Post, the Orlando Sentinel and WLRN Public Media.

The Bradenton Herald and El Nuevo Herald are the two newest members of the group.

“This is exciting news for the Bradenton Herald and its readers,” said Senior Marc R. Masferrer. “Water and other parts of the environment are defining touchstones of life in Bradenton and Manatee County. Our environment is what makes us unique. When it is threatened, whether by red tide, pollution or the effects of climate change, it has a big impact.

“Joining with other Florida organizations will allow us to more richly report on the challenges brought by climate change, and hopefully highlight solutions,” Masferrer said.

The initiative was born out of another successful partnership between news outlets — the award-winning editorial collaboration “The Invading Sea.” Opinion editors at the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Palm Beach Post and WLRN Public Media shared editorials and featured columns from residents and experts on the topic of sea level rise adaptation.

“The network will expand the initiative to the entire state, lead with a news reporting focus and broaden the topic to other climate change effects beyond rising seas,” Aminda Marqués González, publisher and executive editor of the Miami Herald, said in a statement. “In addition to sharing our stories written by our own staffs, our hope is that we will collaborate directly on some enterprise projects.”

Florida newspapers and public radio already have a long history of aggressive reporting on environmental issues, but the network also will seek to add new and expert voices.

“We are exploring ways to build this partnership to include universities and nonprofit newsrooms in addition to the partners now in the fold,” Mark Katches, executive editor of the Tampa Bay Times, said in a statement.

News outlets will continue to share editorials and columns as well as climate change-related news stories.

Based on surveys already conducted by WLRN, data demonstrates that our community wants more local news regarding the environment and climate change. It is a global challenge that demands local knowledge,” said WLRN Vice President of News Tom Hudson. “This collaborative is a bold move that harnesses the top news organizations in Florida in ways that are innovative, unique and meaningful.”

The news-side collaboration will tackle topics ranging from building resilience to increasingly deadly hurricanes to the impact of a warming world on Florida’s $104 billion agriculture industry. Then there are the threats to the big engine of Florida’s economy. Billions of dollars in waterfront real estate are at risk on multiple fronts: Rising seas and stronger storm surge threaten structural damage, and anxious buyers and lenders — plus skyrocketing insurance — have already started to push down property values in vulnerable places.

“We aim to be the ProPublica of environmental reporting for our state of 21 million people,” Nicholas Moschella, editor of The Palm Beach Post, said in a statement.

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