Climate reporters navigate truth, stress, hate mail and hope

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For the past 26 weeks — half a year — I have published a story every Wednesday about how climate change is altering life in Arizona and the Southwest. I’m proud of our work in this space and of The Arizona Republic for creating this position in 2022 to address the global warming crisis in America’s hottest big city.

Our goal has been to use storytelling, data, expert input and local context to help people understand how climate change has and will affect life as we know it, via regular weekly installments appearing on the back of the front page and online each week.

Some readers are grateful for this coverage. But my email inbox indicates that others are feeling the emotional strain this type of news can trigger.

Call it hate mail. Call it reader feedback. Some weeks, the only label I can think to give the emails I receive in response to evidence-based reports on the impacts of warming average temperatures is: therapy.

A sign calling for climate action now sticks out of a pile of muddied debris while sandbags protect a home on Stevanna Way in Flagstaff  on  July 29, 2022.

Only, I’m not paid to be a therapist. I wasn’t hired to be your punching bag. Having a public voice and platform comes with a certain expectation of criticism. But this feels like something more.

Every Wednesday, my story publishes at around 6 a.m. Around 7 a.m., I wake up, skim it again for errors and share it on social media. Then I make myself a pot of coffee or tea, take a deep breath and open my inbox.

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