Building a network for water journalism

The Water Desk is home to a collaborative network of media outlets that cross-publish content related to Western water issues.

Raft trip on the Colorado River through Grand Canon National Park. Photo by Ted Wood.The Water Desk.

Members are encouraged to share content, promote one another’s work and collaborate on projects. There is no cost to join the network. The Water Desk manages the network, facilitates sharing of content, creates original journalism for the network and publishes material from network members on this website. We also hope to use the network as a vehicle for fundraising to support water journalism and advance the field.

Our current partners:

  • Aspen Journalism
  • KUNC
  • Cronkite News
  • InsideClimate News
  • Aspen Public Radio
  • Great Salt Lake Collaborative
  • New Mexico Political Report
  • WyoFile
  • Circle of Blue

If your media outlet is interested in joining this new network, please contact us!

The Water Desk was launched with a grant from the Walton Family Foundation, with additional philanthropic support to build and sustain the initiative. We maintain a strict editorial firewall between our funders and journalism. We’re also editorially independent of the University of Colorado Boulder, where we’re based at the Center for Environmental Journalism.

What The Water Desk can offer

  • Serving as the network’s hub, The Water Desk facilitates collaboration among members, creates a platform for shared content and connecting members to resources to support their journalism.
  • Providing free content to members of the network, including stories, columns, photos, videos and data visualizations.
  • Delivering funds to facilitate the reporting for stories to be shared among The Water Desk’s partner network.
  • Connecting members to Lighthawk, a volunteer flying service that can provide free flights so journalists can integrate aerial reporting/footage into their work.
  • Serving as an expert resource on Western water issues and helping journalists find both the sources and support needed to produce quality journalism.
  • Leading fundraising efforts to support the network, its members and the field of water journalism.

What members can offer the network

  • The Water Desk is looking to advance journalism that focuses on Western water issues, especially stories and other content related to the states that make up the Colorado River and Rio Grande Basins—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wyoming—as well as the borderlands of Northern Mexico.
  • Because water is intertwined with so many issues, we’re interested in a broad spectrum of coverage—climate change, biodiversity, public health, environmental justice, tribal water access, food, agriculture, drinking water, economics, business, recreation and more.
  • The Water Desk works with a variety of media—newspapers, magazines, websites, video, television, radio, podcasts and other channels. We are building a network that includes a diversity of platforms.
  • Media outlets that join the network are encouraged to share content related to Western water issues so that The Water Desk can provide it to other members and disseminate the journalism more widely. Network members always have the option of first publishing the content exclusively on their own platform.

Requirements and republishing guidelines

  • Membership in The Water Desk network is only open to journalistic media outlets. Government agencies, advocacy groups, businesses and other non-journalism organizations are not eligible to join the network.
  • Any media outlet that uses content from The Water Desk network must not alter the coverage, except such things as reflecting date changes and modifying language to adhere to house editorial style.
  • Media outlets that run content from other members of the network will include an editor’s note that provides a link to the original source of the material and The Water Desk.
  • Content from The Water Desk and its network members may be published on pages with advertisements, but not with ads specifically sold against the content. The content also may not be sold separately or syndicated. 
  • If you share any content from The Water Desk and its network members on social media, please tag The Water Desk (@TheWaterDesk on X) and/or the network member.
  • These republishing guidelines are based on ProPublica’s policies, available at: