Kate Maxwell

Kate Maxwell will create a guide to prepare and support local newsrooms, journalists, and communities facing and reporting on natural and environmental disasters. It will offer frameworks and tools necessary to provide useful, equitable, and climate-crisis-informed coverage, particularly in news deserts and rural communities. It will serve as a training tool and a virtual “go bag” of resources for when emergencies occur. 

Maxwell is the publisher, cofounder and managing editor of local news service The Mendocino Voice, and she is creating a virtual “go bag” of resources local newsrooms can use to inform their coverage of natural disasters.

The idea came about as a result of Maxwell’s experiences with rural news outlets, which sometimes lack the resources to get information and real-time coverage to their communities efficiently — often the same communities increasingly impacted by wildfires and other environmental disasters.

“The goal is to create a guide that will help small, community-focused newsrooms and independent journalists prepare in advance of a natural disaster and produce effective reporting in the midst of a disaster,” Maxwell said. “The guide will also provide case studies of coverage once the disaster has passed for communities recovering.”