Introducing the 2023 ESI Journalism Fellows

February 1, 2023

In spring 2021, the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) created the ESI Journalism Fellowships to support journalists from around the United States in creating deeply reported news projects for local newsrooms on the impacts of climate change, and the transition to a clean economy, in their readers’ own regions and communities.

Today, we are pleased to announce our second class of ESI Journalism Fellows. These five outstanding reporters span the country from New England to the Southwest, bringing local perspectives, values and angles to the big story of our changing climate. With support from their newsrooms, ESI and MIT, our new Fellows will spend the coming months reporting out longform or serial projects for publication this year.

Our 2023 Journalism Fellows are:

  • Micah Drew of Kalispell, Montana. Drew covers local government, the environment and athletics for The Flathead Beacon in Northwest Montana, where he will collaborate with his newsroom colleagues Tristan Scott and Denali Sagner in the creation of his project.
  • Joan Meiners of Phoenix, Arizona. Meiners is the climate news and storytelling reporter at The Arizona Republic, where she publishes a weekly story aimed at helping readers understand how climate change is altering life in the southwest and what we can do about it.
  • Annie Ropeik of Portlane, Maine. Ropeik is a freelance journalist reporting on climate change, energy and environmental issues for The Maine Monitor and other outlets. She is a board member with the Society of Environmental Journalists and assistant director of the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk, a reporting collaborative.
  • Mike Tony of Charleston, West Virginia. Tony is The Charleston Gazette-Mail’s energy and environment reporter. He has written extensively about how West Virginia’s topographic and political landscapes make its residents vulnerable to climate impacts.
  • Ryan Van Velzer of Louisville, Kentucky. Van Velzer, Louisville Public Media’s Energy & Environment reporter, is dedicated to covering climate change and environmental issues across Kentucky. He has worked for The Arizona Republic, The Associated Press, The South Florida Sun Sentinel and as a travel reporter in Central America and Southeast Asia.

The ESI Journalism Fellowships were created to provide additional resources, scientific expertise and reporting time to the local journalists and newsrooms who know their audiences best, for high-impact climate news projects that touch directly on their readers’ lives and experiences. You can read more about our first class of Journalism Fellows and their projects in our 2021 Impact Report, or learn more about the Fellowship and our new cohort of reporters on the ESI website.