Water Education Colorado hires editor to lead news initiative

Water Education Colorado, an independent, nonpartisan and policy-neutral nonprofit based in Denver, is pleased to announce it has hired Jerd Smith, an award-winning editor and reporter, to lead a ground-breaking news initiative designed to expand coverage of the critical water issues facing Colorado and the American West.

“Jerd is a respected journalist with a deep backgJerd-Smithround on water in Colorado. I am thrilled that she has joined our team to tackle this important new program offering,” said Jayla Poppleton, executive director for Water Education Colorado. “This work is going to help us reach a much wider audience with timely, relevant information about what is happening in Colorado water, rounding out the work we do to advance awareness and informed decision making statewide.”

Smith most recently served as business news editor overseeing coverage for the Boulder Daily Camera and Times-Call newspapers in Boulder County. She spent more than a decade at the Rocky Mountain News before its closure in 2009. While there, she led a drought team that won Stanford University’s first Risser Prize in environmental reporting. Her work has also been honored by the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, Scripps, and the American Planning Association, among others. Smith has also been a regular contributor to Water Education Colorado’s Headwaters magazine over the past 10 years.

In her new role at Water Education Colorado, Smith will help design and launch a weekly digital news report that includes in-depth reporting on the water issues of the day. This content will be available at no cost to other media and news organizations that choose to carry it, as well as the general public, via the Water Education Colorado website and various social media platforms.

“I’m really pleased to have been given this opportunity by Water Education Colorado. Today there is more need than ever for independent, nonpartisan newsgathering,” Smith said. “This work is critical to ensuring the public and our elected officials understand water in all its glory, from the utility bills that land on homeowners’ counters every month, to the legal, environmental and regulatory issues that underlie this complex landscape.”

Housed within Water Education Colorado, the multi-year initiative is funded through a grant from the Walton Family Foundation. Water Education Colorado is also developing a new website to replace its current website, www.yourwatercolorado.org, with plans to launch www.watereducationcolorado.org in late May or early June.


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