Knight Center seeks MSU students for paid jobs

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism has limited paid staff positions for graduate and undergraduate students at Michigan State University. The work includes

  • producing news stories for Great Lakes Echo, our award winning online regional environmental news service;
  • assisting faculty with research, including online and library research and proofreading of conference papers, journal articles and other material;
  • interviewing scientists about their environment-related research for podcasts and other public distribution;
  • helping “translate” research for lay audiences.

Other needs depend on the flow of projects, grants and Knight Center activities. Hours are flexible.

Continue reading

Dawn of the wolf patrol: How I got the story

Holly Drankhan

Holly Drankhan hiking in the Swiss alps.

Editor’s note: Michigan State University student Holly Drankhan recently landed an interview  with a convicted arsonist and bombmaker for the Knight Center’s Great Lakes Echo.

Rod Coronado in 1992 burned down an MSU laboratory, destroying 32 years of animal research.

Subsequently the animal rights activist spent two years on the lam before serving a 57-month prison sentence. He told Drankhan that he now is a law-abiding advocate for Great Lakes wolves.

Drankhan, 22, of Clarkston, Michigan, took an environmental reporting class at the Knight Center before graduating with a degree in zoology last June. She continued to freelance for Great Lakes Echo through the summer and will enter the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine this fall.

The Knight Center asked her how she developed the story about the controversial activist. Here’s the scoop: Continue reading

High schooler’s prize-winning documentary features some Knight Center work

An eighth grader from New York created an award-winning documentary about Rachel Carson with a bit of help from Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.

Nicole Chiang, a student entering Guilderland High School in Albany County this fall, became interested in the adverse effects of pesticides when she volunteered at the Farnsworth Middle School Pine Bush Butterfly Station. Last summer there weren’t any butterflies at the station, although there were plenty in previous years, she said.

Continue reading

Local stories produce the megapicture of environmental issues

Eric Freedman

Eric Freedman

This column originally ran on

By Eric Freedman

Earlier this summer, one of our MSU environmental journalism students, Kevin Duffy, wrote a Great Lakes Echo article about a new book on the history of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge as an illustration of a successful effort to bring conservation to cities.

Also this year, Great Lakes Echo ran an article by student Qing Zhang about volunteer stream quality monitors in the Huron River watershed. Eamon Devlin wrote about a gravel pit dispute in Plainfield Township, while Logan Clark told about the Upper Peninsula’s suitability for cougar habitat and Colleen Otte reported about proposals for new passenger train routes in Michigan.

Continue reading

Can a tough pope be the climate’s bouncer?

PoulsonTeachBy David Poulson

St. Francis of Assisi is often depicted as a figurine – a gentle man with birds on his shoulders and rabbits at his feet.

I like the irony that the pope who took his name was once a barroom bouncer.

That isn’t to imply Pope Francis favors physical force for resolving conflict. Good bouncers convince unruly patrons to behave – or leave – without lifting a finger.

The best make them think it’s their idea.

Continue reading

Knight Center faculty, grad students present environmental research

space weaths

Some participants at the 13th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment toured the Space Weather Prediction Center operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado. Image: Eric Freedman

Faculty and doctoral students affiliated with the Knight Center played an active role as presenters and panelists at the International Environmental Communication Association’s 2015 Conference on Communication and the Environment.

The theme of the June 11-14 gathering at the University of Colorado in Boulder was “Bridging Divides: Spaces of Scholarship and Practice in Environmental Communications.”

As part of an effort to increase the organization’s engagement with environmental journalism teachers and researchers, Knight Center research director Bruno Takahashi organized and moderated a panel called “Bridging Environmental Journalism and Practice, Research and Education: Current State and Mapping Future Directions.”

Continue reading

Knight Center alum lands digital gig at Texas newspaper

Rachael Gleason

Rachael Gleason

Michigan State University Knight Center graduate Rachael Gleason recently joined the San Antonio Express-News as senior producer and data visualization journalist for the premium site,

Gleason will call on computer-assisted reporting skills she cultivated as a Knight Center student to focus on online interactive mapping, multimedia presentations and data visualization.

The 2011 alum previously worked for the Hearst Corp. sister newspaper, the Midland Reporter-Telegram, for three years as online editor, reporter and copy editor. She also freelanced for National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge blog.

During her time at Michigan State, Gleason was a Knight Center graduate assistant, editor of EJ Magazine, associate producer for EJ Television and reported these stories for Great Lakes Echo.

Follow her on Twitter.

Knight Center research director teaches climate change reporting in Dominican Republic

Bruno Takahashi in Santa Domingo

Bruno Takahashi in Santa Domingo

Knight Center Research Director Bruno Takahashi recently spent a week in the Dominican Republic conducting three workshops with journalists, journalism students and communication professionals interested in reporting about climate change and communicating about sustainability.

The visit, titled “Media coverage of climate change: Best practices in the face of uncertainty” (La cobertura mediática del cambio climático: Mejores prácticas en un contexto de incertidumbre), was sponsored and organized by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo.

Continue reading