Luke Runyon joins The Water Desk as our new co-director

Aerial view of Lake Powell in southern Utah in October 2022. Photo by Alexander Heilner/The Water Desk with aerial support by LightHawk.

We’re thrilled to share the news that Luke Runyon has joined The Water Desk as our new co-director!

As many of you know, Luke is not only one of the nation’s finest water journalists but also a leader in the broader field of environmental journalism and board president of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Water Desk Co-Director Luke Runyon

For the past 12 years, Luke has been a journalist at NPR stations, reporting and editing stories on the West’s environmental issues. As KUNC’s managing editor and reporter covering the Colorado River Basin, he built a successful reporting project from scratch and developed a network of partner news organizations that share work and collaborate on projects—an effort he plans to expand on at The Water Desk.

In 2021, Luke was a Ted Scripps Fellow at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism, where The Water Desk is based. The nine-month fellowship gave Luke the time and depth of knowledge needed to produce the podcast, “Thirst Gap: Learning to Live with Less on the Colorado River,” which came out earlier this year. It’s fascinating and I’d urge you to check it out.

Luke’s email is You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Threads.

We’re very grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for supporting our work and allowing us to expand our staff.

We will be making changes to our approach going forward and will use our email newsletter to keep you posted on The Water Desk’s evolution. Although we are not currently accepting applications for grants, we’ll also use the newsletter to announce any future funding opportunities for journalists and media outlets.

In the meantime, we’re continuing to republish water-related stories and also adding new photos and videos to our free multimedia library of key water-related locations in the Colorado River and Rio Grande basins.

Please join us in welcoming Luke to The Water Desk. We’re looking forward to seeing more of his fantastic journalism!

The Water Desk’s mission is to increase the volume, depth and power of journalism connected to Western water issues. We’re an initiative of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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