Editor’s Desk: FERN expands, adds two staff writers

For most of its life, FERN has primarily worked with freelance writers, producing award-winning stories across dozens of publications. In 2018, we hired Leah Douglas as our first staff writer, and saw the value of her incredible work during Covid-19. Although Leah left for Reuters earlier this year, we’ve hired two new staff writers in her place, Teresa Cotsirilos and Bridget Huber, significantly expanding our editorial team.

Bridget Huber

Bridget and Teresa are veteran, bilingual reporters who work in both print and radio. Bridget has contributed to FERN since 2012, filing stories from California, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, and Zambia. She also was the voice of our 2017 video explainer on the Farm Bill. In her new role, she will lean on that versatility, covering food insecurity and equity, but also climate change and biodiversity.

Teresa was most recently a senior producer at WorldAffairs, a global politics radio show at KQED San Francisco. She also reported on farmworkers who work behind firelines in California in an audio collaboration between FERN and REVEAL from the Center for Investigative Reporting. She will be our lead correspondent in California, including coverage of the West.

Teresa Cotsirilos

Even as we continue to work with freelance journalists, we expect Teresa and Bridget to contribute a steady stream of news reports for FERN’s Ag Insider, as well as features, audio reports, and investigations with our media partners.

Finally, we wanted to flag a couple of recent stories. Marcia Brown, a staff writer at The Capitol Forum, chronicles a revolt by contract chicken farmers in Mississippi against a big poultry merger in the state. The other, by Miranda Weiss and published with The Atlantic, explores this year’s historic sockeye salmon harvest in Bristol Bay, Alaska, an extreme outlier in the age of climate change, as wild salmon fisheries elsewhere are collapsing.

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