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StateImpact Oklahoma welcomes environment and science reporter Britny Cordera

StateImpact Oklahoma has been focusing on education and health issues the past few months, but the project was founded on reporting about science and the environment.

Managing Editor Logan Layden chats with Britny Cordera on how they’ll approach the environment and science beat as StateImpact’s new reporter.


LOGAN: Britny Cordera, thanks for joining me today. I’m looking forward to working with you on issues related to climate change, its impact on communities across the state. Wildlife. So much more. But you’ve done this kind of reporting already in your career, specifically in Missouri.

BRITNY: Yeah. So I actually am coming from Saint Louis, Missouri. And before this, I was an intern at Saint Louis Public Radio. And, of course, as an intern, you kind of do general assignment. But I definitely focused on environment and science as much as I could. I did some stories about how climate change is impacting urban farmers in the area. I also wrote stories about wildlife in Saint Louis, specifically how there’s jellyfish in the waters and how there’s a particular kind of fish there that is starting to spawn that’s endangered. So I’ve been a journalist since 2021 and I had a passion for reporting at the intersection of environment, climate change, environmental justice and culture. Basically, since since then, I’ve always been very passionate about climate change and how it’s also people change just basically since I started my career this is what I knew I wanted to do.

LOGAN: What was it that made you want to come here to Oklahoma, of all places, to continue your reporting on these types of issues?

BRITNY: It definitely was a hard decision. I do love St. Louis, but I have family from here. I have family that lives here. And I don’t really know anything about Oklahoma despite that fact. So a really big appeal to me was what’s going on there. What’s going on in Oklahoma? How is the environment impacting my family? How has it historically impacted my family and impacted the land? And especially with regards to the environment, we know that BIPOC communities, marginalized communities, are at the forefront of climate change in the way that they’re affected. And I just became very much interested in Oklahoma because I know things are shifting here. I know there’s a lot of change happening, and I wanted to learn more about how that is impacting my communities in particular.

LOGAN: Well, you’ve just started with us this week, so it’ll be a little while before we start hearing your stories on the air. But can you give the listeners a sense of the kinds of issues that are already sort of catching your attention here that we might be listening to in the near future?

BRITNY: I really want to look at, you know, how climate change is affecting

Superfund sites at small towns, especially those where that might be considered like all black towns or places with a high number of BIPOC individuals. I am black, and so I really want to focus on those stories that aren’t that aren’t heard as much. And so I’ll definitely be going to those small towns and looking for those stories. I definitely want to look more into urban farming, access to green spaces for marginalized communities, particularly in cities. And so might be looking in Oklahoma City to see where those green spaces are and where they are in proximity to certain areas and things like that. Also, you know, looking more into wildlife conservation, and then really how climate change affects culture in the region. I really want to bring environmental justice into that sphere as well, not reporting the activism, but reporting on, maybe religious groups or or certain cultural groups that are doing things to bring these climate change issues up to policymakers and things like that.

LOGAN: That’s StateImpact’s new science and environment reporter Brittany Cordera, who we’ll be hearing much more from very soon. Thanks for the chat.

BRITNY: Thank you so much, Logan. I’m really excited to be here.

Logan Layden is a reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma. Logan spent six years as a reporter with StateImpact from 2011 to 2017.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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