Climate journalist launching Twitter-based weather service

Climate journalist launching Twitter-based weather service

Climate journalist Eric Holthaus is launching a Twitter-based weather news media startup called "Tomorrow."

The company, which will officially launch Wednesday, will provide weather information via two new services Twitter announced recently including its newsletter platform called “Revue” and a Clubhouse-like audio offering called “Spaces.”

The idea, said Holthaus, who covered climate issues for Slate and the Wall Street Journal, is to provide information that actually helps people deal with the weather, especially during crises like hurricanes and storms.

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“People want to know how the weather will affect them. Not jargon or weather maps. Just ‘Tell me how is it going to affect me,’” Holthaus said.

The media startup will offer a free daily 100-word or less local weather forecast newsletter (hence the name “Tomorrow”) and then a mix of paid and free content including drop-in audio chats during extreme weather, original climate journalism and a service that lets paid subscribers ask meteorologists and climate experts unlimited questions.

“During emergencies or disasters, we'll pull in meteorologists from across the country to help answer reader questions, provide opportunity for live audio chats via ticketed Twitter spaces, or otherwise boost a clear and concise life-saving message across the city and across the world,” Holthaus said.

The service will initially launch in 16 North American cities and in the Dominican Republic.

The staff — initially hired on a contract basis — includes a few dozen climate writers, four part-time editorial staffers and 18 professional local meteorologists.

Holthaus is poaching local TV meteorologists in the same way subscription-based sports media company The Athletic poached sports reporters from around the US to cover local professional sports franchises.

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“TV stations are cutting jobs because the stations have run out of money to pay them,” Holthaus said. “It sucks because these folks are great. Many have been at their jobs for 15-20 years, and they know their audiences and community. There are a lot of meteorologists working in this broken media model.”

The startup is something Holthaus has been planning for at least 10 years.

“I was thinking the weather is something everyone has in common,” he said. “We all experience it together. It’s a collective shared event like very few things are.”