What is the Project for Improved Environmental Coverage?

The Project for Improved Environmental Coverage (PIEC) is a nonprofit initiative dedicated to improving environmental news coverage in the mainstream media. Improved environmental literacy has a range of societal benefits and we are committed to working in a collaborative manner to further this goal.

One of our primary strategies has been the development of the Vision for Improved Environmental Coverage in collaboration with a range of key news media outlets and organizations. This Vision is designed to serve as a scaffold for innovation that defines the opportunity and outlines core principles for improved environmental coverage.

Why is this project needed?

According to the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the media plays a critical role in the creation of a more environmentally literate public – an outcome that is critical to effectively address the environmental challenges that we face now and that will likely be compounded in the future. However, the Pew Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reported that stories about the environment comprised just 1% of the entire news-hole in 2011 – the same level as celebrity coverage.  Additionally, a national opinion poll conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation in April 2012 found that 79% of Americans feel news coverage of the environment should be improved. This initiative was launched in response to these findings.

Who is leading this project and how is it funded?

The Project for Improved Environmental Coverage is a program of SEE Innovation — a nonprofit organization whose staff have been developing award-winning public education and market transformation programs since 1993.  Funding for SEE Innovation is provided by a number of foundations across the country.  The primary funders for this project are the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Foundation, the Park Foundation, and the New Visions Foundation.

What is next for the PIEC?

After the Vision is publicly launched, program staff will reach out to media outlets throughout the US and seek to build support for improving the quality of environmental coverage and committing to the principles of the vision. We will also continue to gauge public opinion regarding this issue and highlight leaders and success models.