Rona Kobell

SNF Agora Visiting Fellow, AY 23-24

Rona Kobell is a journalist, film and radio producer, entrepreneur, and professor with deep knowledge of environmental justice issues. She has covered the Chesapeake Bay and its people for 19 years, beginning at The Baltimore Sun, then at the Chesapeake Bay Journal, and most recently as the managing editor for Chesapeake Quarterly magazine.

She is an adjunct professor at both Towson University and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, where she recently earned her MA in journalism. She has also taught at UMBC, and at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, and will be teaching a course on environmental justice reporting at Maryland’s Loyola University in the fall.

For five years, she co-hosted and co-produced a Chesapeake Bay show on WYPR. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Slate, Grist, National Parks Magazine, The Baltimore Banner, and many other publications. Her work has won two APEX Awards for communication excellence; one MARCOM Platinum Award for research-paper writing; the Lowell Thomas Award, bronze, for national environmental travel reporting; the Rachel Carson Award for Women Greening Journalism from the National Audubon Society; and several honors from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association. Baltimore magazine named her Best Bay Watcher in 2015.

Kobell has written and produced three films. Her latest, Eroding History, premiered at Baltimore’s Senator Theatre in April 2023.

In 2020, she co-founded the Environmental Justice Journalism Initiative with her longtime friend, Donzell Brown Jr. The nonprofit is working with Baltimore students to help them tell their own stories of environmental injustices, as well as diversify participation in the marine science and environmental movements. Kobell focuses her work on the intersection of climate change, historical racism, and land use policies that have harmed Black communities in rural areas.