Chris Gloninger, a meteorologist and chief meteorologist for CBS affiliate KCCI in Des Moines, Iowa, has resigned after 18 years of reporting on weather and the climate crisis. (desmoinesregister.com) Gloninger’s decision came after receiving numerous harassing emails and even a death threat over his climate change reporting. (washingtonpost.com) Gloninger’s coverage of the climate crisis aimed to educate the public about the impacts of climate change during his career, but this noble pursuit came at a cost. (usatoday.com)
The threats directed towards Gloninger began in June 2022, and the emails only grew in intensity and frequency. (cpj.org) (cbsnews.com) Police eventually identified the man responsible for the emails and issued a fine of $150. Despite this, the toll of the threats, combined with other personal issues, left Gloninger struggling. He eventually decided to resign, citing the need to focus on his health, family, and combating the climate crisis in another way. (cpj.org)
The emotional toll of the threats left the meteorologist unable to sleep. (twitter.com) (twitter.com) Even after the perpetrator was identified, the constant stream of harassing emails and messages left him feeling mentally exhausted. The experience was traumatic and left him struggling with PTSD. Despite experiencing the dark side of climate change coverage, Gloninger remains committed to the cause and will devote his full-time efforts to finding sustainable solutions and fostering positive change.
For Gloninger, his passion for climate change reporting began after experiencing the devastation wrought by Hurricane Bob on his hometown of Sag Harbor, New York, as a second-grader. (usatoday.com) (t.co) The hurricane claimed 18 lives and caused billions of dollars in damage. (kcci.com) This experience left an indelible impression on Gloninger and led him to dedicate himself to educating the public about the effects of climate change. (twitter.com) (t.co)
While Gloninger’s coverage of climate change garnered negative feedback, there were also many Iowans who appreciated it. His coverage showed how climate change impacted the Des Moines area, and he sought to inform viewers about the effects of the changing weather. (usatoday.com) (iowacapitaldispatch.com) (cbsnews.com) Gloninger anticipated criticism from viewers, but he embraced the pushback, hoping to engage in constructive dialogue with those who disagreed with him.
Despite the vitriol he received, Gloninger remains committed to the cause. (t.co) He will next join the consulting organization Woods Hole Group as a senior scientist, where he will continue to focus on climate change and provide risk communication to communities as they prepare for its effects. (twitter.com) The move will require him and his wife to move to Massachusetts, where he can be closer to his aging parents. (twitter.com)
In conclusion, Gloninger’s decision to resign from broadcast news is a testament to the emotional toll that climate change coverage can have on reporters. (twitter.com) Despite the threats and harassment he received, Gloninger remains committed to the cause and will continue to fight climate change in his new role. His story highlights the importance of supporting journalists who report on climate change and the need to address the vitriol directed at them.