New study of Great Lakes Echo as “real-world learning” for journalism students

Eric Freedman

Eric Freedman

Traditionally, journalism students gain professional experience before graduation through internships, part-time or summer jobs, and campus media.

Those avenues are often insufficient to adequately prepare them for professional workplaces and standards.

 

PoulsonTeachIn a recently published study, Knight Center director Eric Freedman and senior associate director Dave Poulson examine two practice-based programs at the Michigan State University School of Journalism that provide that essential preparation: Great Lakes Echo, covering environmental news in eight states and two Canadian provinces, and Capital News Service covering government, politics and public policy in Michigan.

Undergrad and master’s students staff both news services. Their published and posted articles and visuals are valuable additions to their portfolios and resumes.

The study observes, “The much-bewailed downturn in the economic fate of traditional news organizations benefits these types of practice-driven, production-focused programs at journalism schools.”

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Viewing China dam through lens of progress, degradation, displacement

Steven Benson. Image: Jordan Jennings.

Steven Benson. Image: Jordan Jennings.

By DANIELLE WOODWARD

Steven Benson’s expedition to photograph China’s Three Gorges Dam did not start with a warm welcome. But initial hostility turned into a dinner invitation and later a family photo that is now among the images of China exhibited at Michigan State University.

Benson, a contemporary American photographer, recently visited the university’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism to talk about this exhibit, “The Cost of Power in China: The Three Gorges Dam and the Yangtze River.”

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Knight Center students earn top honors

Environmental journalism students Kevin Duffy, Jenna Chapman, Amanda Proscia and Danielle Woodward are among those recently recognized by Michigan State University's School of Journalism for outstanding accomplishments. Image: Barb Miller

Environmental journalism students Kevin Duffy, Jenna Chapman, Amanda Proscia and Danielle Woodward are among those recently recognized by Michigan State University’s School of Journalism for outstanding accomplishments. Image: Barb Miller

Eleven students affiliated with the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism are among the award winners recognized recently by Michigan State University’s School of Journalism.

They include:

  • Chelsea Mongeau, Edward J. Meeman award for outstanding undergraduate student in environmental journalism
  • Perry Parks, Rachel Carson award for outstanding graduate student in environmental journalism and also recognized as outstanding doctoral student
  • Danielle Woodward, Knight Center Service Award and also a National Pulliam Journalism Fellowship
  • Amelia Havanec, co-winner of the Len Barnes Scholarship and a Mary Adelaide Gardner Scholarship
  • Colleen Otte, co-winner of the Len Barnes Scholarship and a Mary Adelaide Gardner Scholarship
  • Kevin Duffy, co-winner of the Don Caldwell Memorial Scholarship
  • Amanda Proscia, co-winner of the Outstanding Masters Student award and co-winner of the Don Caldwell Memorial Scholarship
  • Jenna Chapman, winner of the Larry Lee Overseas Study Scholarship
  • Nyla Hughes, winner of the Michael A. and Sandra S. Clark Scholarship
  • Collin Krizmanich, winner of the Donald F. & Katherine K. Dahlstrom Scholarship
  • Carie Cunningham, winner of the Mickie L. Edwardson Endowed Scholarship

Information and past winners of Knight Center awards are here. Information and past winners of Knight Center scholarships are here.

Writer, picker, fundraiser, Knight Center alum gets new Nature Conservancy gig

Alice Rossignol

Alice Rossignol

Knight Center graduate Alice Rossignol (MA ’11) recently accepted a Development Writer and Editor position with The Nature Conservancy in Minneapolis, where she will produce fundraising materials to advance the organization’s efforts across North America.

The move follows more than three years serving as a writer and editor for the Conservancy’s work in Michigan and the Great Lakes. During that time she helped raise millions of dollars to advance conservation initiatives that protect the region’s lands and waters.

Alice credits her tenure at the Knight Center, specifically reporting for Great Lakes Echo, as a major factor that influenced her career trajectory. Like Echo, The Nature Conservancy approaches its work through a bioregional lens, tackling issues at the scale of large, complex ecosystems like the Great Lakes rather than a single river, forest or state.

Entering the job market with this experience and perspective gave her a leg up on other candidates, she says.

Uncle Alice and the Gals. From left Brian Van Antwerp, Alice Rossignol (Knight Center, MA '11), Brian Bienkowsk (Knight Center, MA -12), Andy McGlashen (Knight Center, MA, '09).  Jeff Gillies, (Knight Center, MA, '11), another member of the group couldn't make this gig.

Uncle Alice and the Gals. From left Brian Van Antwerp, Alice Rossignol (Knight Center, MA ’11), Brian Bienkowsk (Knight Center, MA -12), Andy McGlashen (Knight Center, MA, ’09).  Jeff Gillies, (Knight Center, MA, ’11), another member of the group couldn’t make this gig.

She also recognizes the Knight Center for fostering a community of musically-inclined alumni. Before moving to the Twin Cities, Alice, Brian Bienkowski (MA ’12), Jeff Gillies (MA ’11) and Andy McGlashen (MA ‘09) founded the minor league bluegrass/old-time groups, The Apostles and Uncle Alice and the Gals.

Despite failing to top the charts and establish their own Wikipedia pages, they left at least a slight mark on the porch-picking scene of Lansing’s eastside.

Knight Center graduate student lands tech fellowship

Amelia Havanec

Amelia Havanec

Michigan State University Knight Center graduate student Amelia Havanec recently snagged a summer fellowship with a Seattle independent electronic journal.

Crosscut is a non-profit publication founded in 2007 and that serves residents of the Pacific Northwest with facts and analysis of local news. Seattle is the home of such tech giants as Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia and Zillow. Amelia will report on the region’s growing science, environmental and tech space.

She will also help implement Crosscut’s third “Community Ideas Lab,” an ideas contest that organizes people of the Pacific Northwest around local issues that need collective attention. The contest helps put Crosscut’s news stories into perspective.

Amelia has a bachelor of sciences degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester. She has immersed herself in the pursuit of a scientific journalism career and has written for Scientific American MIND, LiveScience.com and The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, in La Jolla, California.

She enrolled in MSU this past January and is the recipient of The Len Barnes AAA Scholarship and The Don Caldwell Memorial Scholarship in Environmental Journalism.

Amelia is also a producer and host of The Food Fix, a student-led podcast that explores food systems innovations around the world.

Knight Center awards grants for documentary film-making

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism has awarded four $3,500 grants to support documentary film-making projects by MSU faculty-student teams.

The winning proposals:

  • “Creative Demolition/Reuse” will look at the nontraditional side of recycling through the concept of creative reuse in the Midwest. Faculty: Geri Alumit Zeldes, School of Journalism; Bob Albers, Department of Media & Information; Troy Hale, School of Journalism. Students: Elise Conklin, Department of Media & Information; William Bridgforth, Department of Media & Information; Nik Siddall, Department of Media & Information; Tyler Clifford, School of Journalism; Kabine Diane: Departments of Finance and Media & Information.
  • “Tsunami: Relief and Rehabilitation” will focus on the impact 10 years later of the 2004 tsunami on the southern India town of Nagapattinam. Faculty: Swarnavel Eswaran Pillai, Departments of Media & Information and English. Student: Dakshaini Ravinder, Department of Advertising & Public Relations. Alum: Ryan Frederick. Staff: Peter Johnston, specialist, Department of English.
  • “Flint Brewers: Water in the Works” will explore the importance of clean, safe drinking water through the eyes of local brewery owners in Flint. Faculty: Jennifer Ware, School of Journalism. Students: Daniel Hamburg, School of Journalism; Katherine Kuhne, School of Journalism and Department of Political Science.
  • “The Environment of Extreme Sports” will explore the connection that extreme athletes feel with nature and the environment. Faculty: Troy Hale, School of Journalism; Bob Albers, Department of Media & Information; Geri Alumit Zeldes, School of Journalism. Students: Elise Conklin, Department of Media & Information; William Bridgforth, Department of Media & Information; Nik Siddall, Department of Media & Information; Alex Scharg: School of Journalism; Tyler Clifford, School of Journalism; Kabine Diane: Departments of Finance and Media & Information.

The proposals were selected after a university-wide open competition.

Knight Center grad lands job as environmental communications director

Haley Walker

Haley Walker

Michigan State University Knight Center graduate Haley Walker recently landed a job as the communications manager of The Freshwater Trust in Portland, Oregon.

The Freshwater Trust is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that actively works to preserve and restore the country’s freshwater ecosystems. The group builds, locally implements and scales game-changing tools that help achieve freshwater health.

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Journalist, MSU alum part of Fate of the Earth

By Amanda Proscia

Andrew Revkin

Andrew Revkin

A former environmental reporter for the New York Times is speaking at Michigan State University about environmental sustainability, a presentation based on a series of his tweets on Twitter.

Andrew Revkin, who still writes for the Times on his Dot Earth blog, is the keynote speaker at the university’s second annual Fate of the Earth symposium April 2 and 3.

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