Producer Profile: Rebecca Huntington

Field producers for Assignment Earth arguably have the coolest job in the world. Reporter Rebecca Huntington blends exploring wild places, her favorite pastime, with storytelling to educate the general public on events and issues at the forefront of environmental conservation.

Born in Billings Montana, Rebecca, 38, now lives in Jackson, Wyoming. With a degree in Spanish and Journalism from the University of Montana and as a Ted Scripps fellow of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder she, brings a wealth of knowledge and training to her production work. Reporting for Assignment Earth since 2007 Rebecca connects with researchers and activists to offer viewers an on-the-ground perspective of efforts to protect and preserve the natural world.

What follows is a Q&A interview conducted for Assignment Earth

AE:

What made you decide to become a journalist?

Huntington:

While working on a story about a boarding school on the Blackfeet Indian reservation for the University of Montana’s innovative Native News Project, I realized I could be engaged in the moment and make a difference. The young girl I followed to school, who had been teased in the past, gained some new respect among some of her peers just by having a journalist follow her around for a day. Sometimes just being there is enough.

AE:

But why an environmental journalist?

Huntington:

My parents taught me to love the outdoors. I also love attempting to bridge the gap between what scientists know, what policymakers do and what the general public understands about being stewards of our environment.

AE:

Do you have a journalistic hero, a mentor, or anyone in particular who inspires your work?

Huntington:

Too many to name — but my first newspaper editor, Diane Pettit, would bring my stories back bleeding red with her editing mark-up and yet still leave me feeling inspired and even confident! She was a real teacher.

AE:

What is the most interesting story you’ve ever reported on?

Huntington:

A proposed copper mine in the cloud forest of Peru.  “Peruvians sue former British mining firm over shootings” for the London newspaper, The Independent, published May 9, 2010.

AE:

What is was it about Peru that made is this area so compelling?

Huntington:

You have world-class cultural and ecological resources overlapping with world-class minerals and oil and gas in a place that is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Tension is brewing given the weak environmental regulation; extreme gap between haves and have-nots (rural v. urban populations); and ever-increasing demand for resources ranging from copper to oil.

AE:

What are you working on now?

Huntington:

Zombie subdivisions and pikas.

AE:

Say what?

Huntington:

Zombie subdivisions — subdivisions that aren’t quite dead, but they’re the walking dead. We are looking at how one rural community in southern Idaho is coping with blight from the housing bubble that burst and has so many vacant lots, experts project it could take anywhere from 70 to 300 years to absorb them all. Some in this community are striving to be a case study for how to rein in rural sprawl and rebuild after the bust in a way that protects natural resources and amenities that could protect land values and attract buyers in the future.

AE:

And the pikas?

Huntington:

Separate story. How will climate change affect pikas, which already live at high elevations so can’t move much further up slope to escape the heat. Reporting from talus slopes in western Wyoming.

AE:

What is the most important thing you want people to know about you as a journalist?

Huntington:

Like the Assignment Earth series, I let the facts tell the stories and the viewers draw their own conclusions.

Share : Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on GooglePlusShare on LinkedinShare on Pinterest

Comments

Share your questions comments and criticisms

Powered by Facebook Comments

Author:James

I'm a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on GooglePlusShare on LinkedinShare on Pinterest