IJNR Virtual Workshop: Environmental Racism and Journalism

Event Date: 
July 22, 2020 to July 23, 2020

Environmental Racism: A Workshop for Journalists
July 22 + 23, 2020

Registration opens July 1 at noon ET.

Sunnyside, one of the oldest Black communities in Houston, is a neighborhood with a strong social fabric and pride in its history. But, thanks to the systemic racism that has shaped U.S. cities nationwide, Sunnyside has also lived the American experience of so many marginalized Black and Brown communities – high crime, extreme poverty and crowded with infrastructure like salvage yards, a garbage incinerator and a gigantic city landfill.

But a new story is developing in Sunnyside, one full of enterprising community members pushing for a more prosperous and equitable future. At the heart of these efforts lies that gigantic landfill – which is slated to become the largest urban solar farm in America.

In the middle of the oil and gas capital of the world, can a renewable energy development provide a path to a more equitable future?

And what about other public health disparities in Houston? Sitting 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, the fourth-largest city in the U.S. has no zoning laws, lax enforcement of environmental regulations and is subject to hurricanes and floods that imperil both extensive petrochemical infrastructure and residents in fenceline communities.

Through a two-day online workshop, the Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources will use Houston as a case study for other American cities as we explore questions of environmental racism, social equity and the problematic lenses through which these stories get told.

Journalists participating in our workshop will:

  • Learn how historic race-based housing discrimination shaped U.S. cities and led to many of our current environmental injustices.
  • Hear from academic scholars and fellow journalists about how to better report on these issues.
  • Talk with Sunnyside residents about their vision for the neighborhood and concerns that, like past promises, the new solar farm won’t live up to the hype.
  • Meet citizen activists who have been working for decades to push for equity and protect public health.
  • Discuss the challenges lax environmental regulations and lenient industrial oversight bring to these efforts.
  • Hear about new approaches to addressing systemic racism and disenfranchisement, like the nation’s first “environmental justice” high school and community ownership of projects such as the Sunnyside solar farm.
  • Explore journalism’s role in perpetuating stereotypes about and minimizing the voices of communities of color - and how to change that role.

Registration is free and will be limited to 25 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Registrants must submit a resume and one clip via Submittable.   

The registration link will be sent to the first 25 qualified applicants who submit their credentials, beginning at noon (EDT) on 7/1.

The registration form will be viewable the morning of 7/1. Early submissions will not be accepted.

Watch the recordings.


Event Details