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Journal reporter selected for five-month fellowship to advance water journalism

Mimiaga has covered drought, river pollution and the depletion of McPhee reservoir, and will participate in a Colorado Media Project fellowship to advance water journalism in Colorado (File photo of McPhee Reservoir at extremely low levels)
Fellows to investigate timely water issues facing Colorado

Jim Mimiaga, a reporter with The Journal in Cortez, has been selected to join a team of 10 journalists in Colorado working to strengthen water reporting and build a peer network to cover water issues across the state.

Fellows’ reporting projects will focus on uncovering and explaining current water issues facing Coloradans – including the human, ecological and economic impacts of drought, climate change, forest health, demand management, water quality, agriculture and industry – according to a news release from the Colorado Media Project.

Fellows will participate in four “Water Fluency for Journalists” workshops presented by the nonprofit Fresh Water News service and will receive coaching from the Colorado News Collaborative for individual and collaborative reporting projects. The collaborative is a nonprofit media resource hub that includes journalists from more than 140 newsrooms in Colorado, the news release said.

The fellowship experience and $1,000 journalist stipends are made possible with support from Colorado Media Project and the Denver-based Gates Family Foundation.

Jim Mimiaga

Mimiaga has covered water issues in Southwest Colorado, providing articles on drought and pollution in the Dolores River and the depletion of McPhee Reservoir, which supports local farmers and the Ute Mountain Ute tribe.

“I look forward to making connections with people and sources to learn more about water in Colorado and the West,” Mimiaga told the Colorado Media Project. “To be able to reach out to more sources for information and perspective when I'm in the midst of a complicated water issue story will better serve readers.”

In addition to Mimiaga, the fellows are:

  • Zack Newman, an investigative data producer for 9Wants to Know, the investigative unit within 9NEWS (KUSA-TV) in Denver.
  • Tara Flanagan, a part-time reporter for the Ark Valley Voice, a new online news source based in the headwaters of the Arkansas River.
  • Michael Elizabeth Sakas, a reporter with Colorado Public Radio News.
  • Trevor Reid, a news editor at the Greeley Tribune with experience in multiple beats.
  • Erin McIntyre, the co-publisher and co-owner of the Ouray County Plaindealer, located at the headwaters of the Uncompahgre River.
  • Kate Perdoni, a multimedia journalist, TV host, producer, director, writer, editor and videographer working with Rocky Mountain PBS.
  • Philip Poston, chief photographer and photo editor for the Sentinel Colorado in Aurora.
  • Olivia Emmer, a freelance reporter since 2020 for the weekly nonprofit Sopris Sun.
  • Priscilla Lee Waggoner, who recently joined Alamosa’s Valley Courier newspaper in the San Luis Valley.

According to the news release, the selection committee sought a group of fellows that serves a range of geographies, river basins and rural, mountain, urban and suburban communities.