ON LEADING PODCAST • Episode #22 • May 8, 2024

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Episode #22

Emily Holden

On Collaborative, Investigative Journalism

By Lori Brewer Collins

In the realm of investigative journalism, Emily Holden stands as a beacon of tenacity and integrity. As the founder of Floodlight News, she has pioneered a new approach to reporting on critical environmental issues, shining a light on the often-overlooked intersections of climate change, justice, and policy.

Holden’s journey into journalism was driven by a passion for truth and a commitment to social responsibility. After graduating with a degree in journalism, she embarked on a career that took her from local newsrooms to national publications. Along the way, she honed her skills in investigative reporting, uncovering stories that had a profound impact on communities and policymakers alike.

It was during her time covering environmental issues for major outlets that Emily recognized a glaring gap in reporting – the lack of in-depth coverage on the human dimensions of climate change. She saw how vulnerable communities, particularly those marginalized by race, income, or geography, were disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and policy decisions.

Determined to fill this void, Emily founded Floodlight News, a nonprofit investigative news organization dedicated to illuminating the human and societal impacts of environmental issues. With a small team of dedicated journalists, she set out to produce rigorous, data-driven reporting that would hold powerful interests to account and empower communities with knowledge.

Floodlight News quickly gained recognition for its groundbreaking investigations into topics such as environmental justice, corporate influence on policy, and the consequences of government inaction on climate change. Holden and her team tackled complex issues with precision and empathy, giving voice to those often overlooked in mainstream media narratives.

Holden’s dedication to her craft and her unwavering commitment to truth-telling have earned her numerous accolades and awards. Yet, for her, the true measure of success lies not in personal recognition but in the impact of her work on society. By amplifying the voices of those on the front lines of environmental challenges, she strives to drive meaningful change and create a more just and sustainable world for future generations.

In a media landscape often dominated by sensationalism and short-term thinking, Emily Holden and Floodlight News stand as a testament to the enduring power of investigative journalism to inform, inspire, and effect change. As she continues her work, Emily remains guided by a simple yet profound belief: that journalism, at its core, is a service to humanity, and that by shedding light on the truth, we can build a better, more equitable world for all.

Key Moments

  • Support the entire ecosystem of journalism! Supporting journalism is crucial for democracy and society. It keeps power in check, uncovers corruption, and informs citizens. Without it, we lack vital information for decision-making and civic engagement. Subscribe and donate on all levels — national and local.
  • You can’t do everything, and you shouldn’t. As a leader or entrepreneur, it’s natural to feel compelled to do everything at the outset. However, recognizing that you can’t—and shouldn’t—handle every task is essential. Investing in hiring talented individuals and empowering them to excel in their roles is key to sustainable growth and success.
  • Eliminate the toxic “grind” mentality. Consistently pushing yourself into the wee hours quickly leads to burnout. Prioritizing boundaries and a sustainable pace is crucial for maintaining productivity and well-being.
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