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Central Pa. organizations form unique collaboration to engage community on climate change challenges, solutions

Harrisburg — Five news organizations, two institutions of higher learning and a theater company announce their partnership to use engagement, education and storytelling to inform and empower central Pennsylvanians to find solutions to the challenges posed by climate change.

This new collaboration — called “Climate Solutions” — is convened by StateImpact Pennsylvania, a public media partnership covering energy and environment. StateImpact Pennsylvania is based at WITF, whose public media news and programming reaches 2.3 million people in 19 counties in central Pennsylvania. 

Climate Solutions’ funding partner is the Solutions Journalism Network, which works with journalists and news organizations to help them focus in-depth on responses to problems, how the responses work and whether there is insight others can use. SJN is providing a $200,000 grant spread over two years for partners to use toward community engagement, events and journalism and education efforts. 

Collaboration members are:

Franklin & Marshall College Center for Public Opinion Research 

La Voz Latina


Sankofa African American Theatre Company

Shippensburg University Department of Communication, Journalism & Media

StateImpact Pennsylvania 

USA TODAY Network in central Pennsylvania (York Daily Record, Lebanon Daily News, Hanover Evening Sun, Chambersburg Public Opinion, Waynesboro Record Herald and Greencastle Echo Pilot) 


Climate Solutions’ geographic focus are the counties of Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York. We will use community engagement to ask how climate change issues are affecting the lives and livelihoods of central Pennsylvanians. Frequently using a Solutions Journalism lens, we’ll report on what is working — or could work — to help us meet the challenges climate change presents, and whether those solutions could be used in other communities. 

“We’re thrilled to bring together a diverse collection of people and organizations who care about climate change and the challenges it presents, and about helping communities problem-solve,” said Scott Blanchard, senior editor for WITF News and StateImpact Pennsylvania, and editor of Climate Solutions. “It’s a unique partnership. We think our members’ skills, experience and ideas will help elevate the climate story in central Pennsylvania — not to alarm people, but to work with them and open doors to potential solutions.”  

Jennie Jenkins-Dallas is publisher of news organization La Voz Latina Central, a Climate Solutions partner. 

“We not only want Latinos/Hispanics knowledgeable and aware of climate change, but also to include them in the solutions to slow it down,” she said. “With over one million Latino/Hispanics in Pennsylvania, it is imperative that they make a contribution toward saving our planet.”

Carrie Sipes, department chair of Communication Journalism at Shippensburg University, and Dhiman Chattopadhyay, assistant professor specializing in journalism and strategic communications, are leading the university’s partnership with Climate Solutions.

“We hope that this project will lead to both in-depth news/ feature stories offering solutions to the dangers posed by climate change, and in-depth academic research whose findings can be applied by journalists to do more meaningful reporting in this area,” Chattopadhyay said. “Of course, no discussion on the global dangers of climate change and viable solutions for local communities can be complete without including the bright young minds who are learning the ropes of journalism in college today and will be leading voices of solutions-oriented journalism tomorrow.”  

Climate Solutions’ work will be collected at stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/climate-solutions/ and will be featured on its partners’ websites. 

Find Climate Solutions on Facebook and Twitter, and follow us for climate news, as well as information about events in your community.

Press contact: Scott Blanchard, scott_blanchard@witf.org or 717-344-4757


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