The Associated Press and the Walton Family Foundation today announced the creation of a new reporting team that will cover water issues in the U.S.
The two-year grant from the Walton Family Foundation will fund three AP reporting positions. The journalists will be based across the U.S.
This collaboration is an expansion of AP’s robust environmental reporting efforts. It will allow the news agency to produce additional comprehensive, all-formats journalism around water use, rights, quality and safety, as well as food production, dams, flooding and natural habits.
AP expects to also work with local news outlets to identify their coverage needs around these same topics for their audiences.
“AP has the unique ability to elevate coverage of these critical issues throughout its local distribution network, ensuring a wide and diverse audience among communities across the U.S.,” said Lisa Gibbs, AP director of news partnerships.
“Quality journalism has never been more important to maintain an informed public and spotlight the issues that matter most; environment, health, and social justice,” said Moira Mcdonald, director of the Walton Family Foundation Environment program. “We are proud to work with The Associated Press to support additional capacity to cover the nexus of water and climate issues that affect all parts of our world.”
“Water quality and allocation are fundamental issues of climate change and impact communities far and wide,” said Sarah Nordgren, AP deputy managing editor. “This grant will enable AP to increase coverage in video, text and photos of water issues in the West, along the Mississippi and, from a policy perspective, in Washington, D.C.”
Through the grant, AP will add a Washington-based journalist covering policy that impacts water and climate; a video journalist based in the U.S. West focused on water issues in the Colorado River basin; and a reporter in the Midwest who will cover the Mississippi River basin. Visuals created by the team are intended to help local news outlets tell stories to their audiences.
AP retains editorial control of all content.
AP’s collaboration with the Walton Family Foundation is the latest example of how the 175-year-old news agency is working with foundations and nonprofits to tackle traditionally under-covered topics in journalism. AP has worked with a variety of organizations, including Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Lilly Endowment, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Report for America and others.