The only way to survive is to have several projects simmering at once. Or even experiment with new media. Today, several Scilancers, including a group of six–myself (bio), Hannah Hoag (bio), Susan Moran (bio), Sarah Webb (bio), Amanda Mascarelli (bio) and Emily Gertz (bio)–are launching new endeavors.
The team at a California-based digital media start-up, Beacon, recently sought out environmental reporters eager to take advantage of an opportunity to expand the site’s climate change coverage. Beacon has dozens of crowd-funded “channels”. A subscription gets you access to all of them.
When the notion of a team approach was floated, Hannah’s reply captured the group sentiment–“Why the hell not?”
The prospect of being part of something bigger than just one standalone article–with a vision and continuity–was intriguing, she says.
From our collective years of reporting on climate change, we knew that weather is getting weirder and the oceans more acidic. And humans are facing the reality that we have to adapt to a new normal.
We realized our stories all had a common theme—the natural and human-engineered adaptations to climate change already underway. Some species will be winners, unfortunately others will be losers. We want to tell the survival stories from a world in flux. And who doesn’t like a good survival story?
We’ll soon find out. Today, we are launching our crowd-funding campaign. Check out a video description here. We’re calling ourselves “Flux”. Whatever we raise, Beacon will match. If we meet our goal, we’ll produce at least 6 months of content.
We’re not the only ones taking this chance. Emma Marris (bio) is launching a campaign to fund her own Beacon channel as well. She’s pitching a book on her latest obsession—how wolves and humans will co-exist in the future. Her central character, a wolf in Oregon named OR-7, will help her answer a central question: how do we define wildness in today’s world?
We’re all excited (and, if we’re being honest, nervous) about this endeavor. We take comfort in some of the other crowd-funding experiments underway—like Deca, a new long-form journalism cooperative. There’s also The Story Group, an independent, multimedia journalism company. And other enterprising journalists–like David Wolman, who recently self-published a collection of his stories called Firsthand — are taking advantage of the new media environment.
As this recent article points out, freelancers are a crafty lot and will no doubt continue experimenting with ways to solve some of the biggest challenges in journalism. As the saying goes, adapt or die.
Image credits: Susan Moran (photo), Beacon logo courtesy of Catherine Hollander