Savannah Morning News brings on new statewide climate and environmental reporting position

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Credit: Courtesy of Marisa Mecke

Credit: Courtesy of Marisa Mecke

The Savannah Morning News has hired a new regional climate change and environmental reporter, Marisa Mecke. Her position is made possible by a two-year grant from 1Earth and The Kendeda Fund, and is part of a broader effort to bring impactful climate coverage to the Southeast.

1Earth is a private, nonprofit organization., which fund's community partnerships and has created climate reporting positions within newsrooms in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The Savannah-based reporting position will cover statewide issues along with regional and local news. As with all community partnerships, the USA TODAY Network will retain control over all editorial content.

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Credit: Courtesy of Marisa Mecke

Credit: Courtesy of Marisa Mecke

Executive Editor of the Savannah Morning News and Georgia State Director, Jill Nevels-Haun, said this position provides an opportunity to examine policy changes at the national, state and local levels and how they affect the environment, economy and quality of life.

"Its location along the southeastern coast makes Georgia ground zero for climate change conversations," said Nevels-Haun, "Our goal is to cultivate an understanding of the complexities of climate change in order to empower readers. We value solutions journalism and accountability and infuse our reporting with those elements."

Mecke joins the Savannah Morning News after a year of environmental reporting in Boone, North Carolina. The Davidson College graduate jumped into climate coverage as a reporter for Report For America, a competitive program that places journalists in local newsrooms to highlight under-covered issues and communities.

Mecke wrote for the Watauga Democrat and Avery Journal Times, diving into a variety of environmental topics including wastewater discharges, invasive plant and pest species, climate solutions from area nonprofits and local government news as well.

The Georgia native said she’s excited to chart her own path in her new position. Her areas of interest include flooding, wetland protection and mitigation, endangered species and how communities interact with their environment.

Mecke said she is eager to explore how ever-worsening flooding is progressively impacting communities along coastal Georgia.

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Credit: Courtesy of Marisa Mecke

Credit: Courtesy of Marisa Mecke

“It touches these really interesting environmental topics between infrastructure, how we’re planning for climate change, major weather events … it’s one of those subjects that has a lot of arms and legs,” said Mecke.

Mecke has begun to research regional stories and has already published pieces on illuminating archaeological research from the University of Georgia and newly issued environmental sustainability bonds from Georgia Power.

“I’m excited to work on coastal climate issues and excited to hit the ground running,” said Mecke.

Nancy Guan is the general assignment reporter covering Chatham County municipalities. Reach her at nguan@gannett.com or on Twitter @nancyguann.

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Savannah Morning News brings on new statewide climate and environmental reporting position