From the survival of wild species to the protection of clean water and open spaces, the world faces increasingly complex environmental challenges. Storytelling plays a critical part in informing citizens and propelling them to purposeful action. Yet journalists covering communities working toward conservation and climate resilience often lack the resources and expertise to fully explore the science, economics and politics behind the issues and consider their larger ecological, social, cultural and global context.

The Crown Reporting Project seeks to address this gap in quality storytelling on climate, communities and conservation. It pairs students from the University of Montana’s graduate program in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism with seasoned editors as they pursue stories in the Rocky Mountain region of Montana, Alberta and British Columbia.

While the students report stories in the field, their mentors - professional journalists with a strong track record covering science, conservation and natural resource policy and management - recommend sources, edit drafts and help publish the final product. Each team produces one story, with formats ranging from print features to multimedia packages.

The project takes advantage of the natural laboratory known as the Crown of the Continent, as well as of the School of Journalism’s award-winning Master’s program, which trains the next generation of journalists to combine a sound understanding of science and policy with storytelling skills to engage broad audiences across diverse media platforms.