(University of Victoria/Facebook)

The University of Victoria has announced they will be hiring a professor to teach climate journalism through a significant private donation.

Vancouver business leader and political activist Wayne Crookes gifted UVic with $1.875 million, $1.5 million of which will be used for the professorship.

The remaining $375,000 will be used to create a separate fund focussed on environmental and climate journalism research and outreach.

“Wayne Crookes’ support of environmental and climate journalism echoes UVic’s deep conviction to help address the challenges posed by climate change,” UVic President Kevin Hall said.

“Extreme weather, melting ice sheets, incessant flooding and other alarming events serve to remind us that we are not only together in this crisis, but also of the urgent need to effectively counter misinformation through the rigour of credible journalism.”

The new professor will be appointed later in 2021 as part of the university’s Department of Writing.

Crooks is a former federal Green Party campaign manager and the owner and founder of West Coast Title Search Ltd.

He says his donation is a way to increase the quality and depth of science-based environmental journalism, to better inform the public.

“People recognizing the problem is the most important step in it being dealt with and being solved,” Crookes said.

“To do that, public opinion needs to change, and that can most efficiently be changed by increasing—and having a higher quality of—media coverage.”

Information on applications for the five-year professorship will be posted on the UVic writing department website by early February.

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