Tim Tai, Senior Photographer

For 15 years and counting, a globally recognized environmental magazine has operated at the School of the Environment.

The Yale Environment 360 Magazine — E360, for short — is an independent, online publication dedicated to environmental journalism. Drawing on work from journalists and climate experts, the magazine features pieces that explore a range of environmental issues and draws roughly five million visitors each year.

“I think e360 is wonderful because it reports not just about [climate change] but about the entire range of environmental conditions around the world,” Timothy Gregoire, a Yale School of the Environment professor, wrote in an email to the News.

According to Roger Cohn, executive editor of E360, the magazine’s emphasis on the “big discussions” of global environmental issues has helped it strike a balance between in-depth exploration and breadth of content. He noted that E360 articles have previously been featured on Apple and YahooNews, but also have an “influential” readership, many of whom are “decision makers” and policy experts on the environmental issues themselves.

Oswald Schmitz, a Yale School of the Environment professor, added that E360’s style of long-form journalism and analysis also encourages its authors to provide extra context alongside the environmental topics covered by popular media. The pieces, Schmitz said, give the broader public a “firsthand understanding” of the important environmental issues.

“We make sure that [the pieces are] written and edited in a way that the articles are accessible to a general audience,” Cohn told the News. “You don’t need to be an academic […] to follow our articles.” 

Regular contributors to the magazine include reporters Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Kolbert and Jim Robbins.

Cohn emphasized the importance of “good, science-based reporting” in E360’s environmental coverage, especially in the face of climate change and the rise of misinformation. He said that articles undergo a rigorous fact-checking procedure prior to publication, in which student researchers and interns inspect the accuracy of every sentence before pieces get posted to the site.

Rose Nagele, a graduate student at the School of the Environment and fact-checker, added that the proofreading process involves verifying any information within the piece but also confirming the representation accuracy of the sources within the piece.

“I think we need to support [the magazine] in this day and age of alternative facts,” Schmitz said. “I think having an organization like Yale E360 is present and essential, especially in this day of misinformation.”

Though E360 still bears the University’s name, the magazine is editorially independent. Cohn said that the publication receives slight funding from the University, but largely sustains itself from independent donations.

The Ford Foundation, BAND Foundation, Heinz Endowments and Climate and Land Use Alliance are listed on the website as some of the magazine’s donors.

E360’s operations are currently housed in the School of Environment. The publication also retains a faculty advisory committee to maintain communication with the University. Schmitz, who is a committee member, said that the ongoing dialogue between the University and publication helps both sides exchange “opinion,” guidance and gain a deeper understanding of environmental journalism’s challenges in the process.

Cohn and Schmitz said that the proposal for an environment-focused magazine came from former School of Environment Dean Gus Speth, who sought to increase the University’s role in promoting environmental discussions. University funding from then-University President Rick Levin helped kickstart the magazine, which began publishing online in 2008.

Since then, E360 has provided insight into a cross-section of environmental issues. Cohn recalled that some of the magazine’s most significant journalistic coverage includes its careful investigative work into a slew of environmentalist murder cases across Honduras, Cambodia and South Africa. He also pointed to the impact of “Warriors of Qiugang,” a 2011 Oscar-nominated documentary that the magazine co-filmed to chronicle the Chinese village’s struggle against the polluting chemical factory.

For Nagele, one of E360’s most powerful stories includes an account of the chronic flooding faced by Eastwick, a neighborhood in her own home city of Philadelphia.

Some of the magazine’s previous work has garnered awards from the Online New Association in 2009, 2010,and 2011. “Levelling Appalachia,” a documentary about coal mining’s effects on the American Appalachia region, also won the National Magazine Award for Digital Media and the National Press Photographers Association’s “Best of Photojournalism” award in 2010.

“Stories are important for understanding the world around us,” Nagele said.The magazine saw roughly 1.137 million viewers over the past three months.