The first week after my team received news from the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication that Powering a Nation would no longer exist as it had for six years, things initially became a little sadder when visiting the Lab. People surrounding me were still hustling, pushing their ventures forward. While Nat, Alsey, Casey and I began slowing down as our project is facing an ending rather than a beginning. We were taught on Day One at Reese News Lab to always keep moving, but which way are we to move now?
The answer is: In a different direction! Our visionary team will no longer be mapping out donors to approach or working out a new revenue stream. Instead, the remainder of this semester will be dedicated to creating the best possible final piece to wrap up Powering a Nation .
No matter whether our final piece ends up a video, infographic or written story, one thing is certain: It will showcase Powering a Nation’s exceptional work and educational value. My hope for this piece is to encourage the UNC J-School to create a similar project to benefit the new Environment and Science Communication dual-degree program students.
Before knowing Powering a Nation would not relaunch, we committed to presenting at the 2015 N.C. Clean Tech Summit hosted by UNC’s Institute for the Environment and Kenan-Flagler’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise. What once was an opportunity to meet potential donors and make a subtle pitch became an avenue to show off Powering a Nation’s great work and introduce the Environment and Science Communication program.
Since I am new to the Lab, our presentation at the Clean Tech Summit was sadly the first, and final, pitch I made for Powering a Nation. The audience of professionals loved our work and the promise of the students who will build communication skillsets through the new education program.
I left the presentation feeling we accomplished what we set out to do and feeling excited about my own career because I was in a room full of business professionals thrilled to have journalism students telling stories involving their industry.
Even though Powering a Nation is not continuing for now, it is encouraging to see people outside of the journalism world who value the content and messages it created. It gives me great hope that I might one day make a pitch for a newly imagined project as powerful as Powering a Nation that will be dedicated to environmental journalism and communication.