Robert Gutsche reports that South Florida news outlets are not covering the rise of sea levels, even though they pose an existential threat to Miami and its environs. Partly as a result of the news silence, “civic and economic leaders in South Florida aren’t talking about what’s ahead for us.” In response, Florida International University journalism students are building Eyes on the Rise to fill this important news gap. Working, in part, with local high school students, the FIU journalism students are collecting their own hydrological data with remote sensors, producing original reporting, raising awareness, and engaging public audiences. This project is a promising approach to educating the college students, and it turns the journalism program into a local news asset–much as medical schools provide health care through teaching hospitals. It thus falls at the intersection of citizen science (and Civic Science), experiential civic education/service-learning at both the college and high school levels, public journalism, media reform, and civic environmentalism.
This, by the way, is one of a dozen projects being funded by the Online News Association that my colleagues and I are currently evaluating. Stay tuned.