MSU journalism students eligible for scholarships; many are environment-related

The application deadline for scholarships from the MSU School of Journalism is Jan. 30.

Many of the scholarships target students interested in environmental reporting. You can find a list of the scholarships and how to apply online here.

The scholarships are awarded spring semester for use the following summer or fall. Undergraduate and graduate students who will not graduate in the spring are eligible.

What’s in a name?

Image: Eric Freedman

Image: Eric Freedman

By Eric Freedman
It’s a long way from Paris to the western outskirts of the Adirondack Mountains, and thus a surprise to spot a New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) sign for Bonaparte’s Cave State Forest.
Bonaparte? As in Napoleon Bonaparte? If so, what was the former emperor of France doing in Northern New York, about an hour’s drive south of the St. Lawrence River?

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Can autocomplete be a tool for reporting?

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 5.41.13 PM

By David Poulson

Important, great, cold, dangerous, low, polluted, big, clear, rough are reasonable adjectives for describing the Great Lakes.

But salty?

C’mon, they hold more than 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water. Their nickname is the Sweetwater Seas.

And yet “salty” is the ninth option autocomplete provides when you do a Google search on “Why are the Great Lakes so.”

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Painting extinction

Image: Laura Ball

Image: Laura Ball

By Eric Freedman

The Chelsea neighborhood on the west side of Manhattan has changed considerably since I lived in New York City. Well-maintained brownstones. Cafes and bistros. Lots of bikes. Bumper stickers opposed to fracking and climate change. Recycling bins. Even a sign by a corner park about an upcoming post-Halloween pumpkin composting site.

Chic has replaced cheesy. Upscale has supplanted rundown.

So Chelsea wasn’t an unlikely neighborhood for me to find extinction, or at least San Diego artist Laura Ball’s homage in watercolor to species in jeopardy of extinction.

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J-School grad lands oil industry reporting job

Andrew AtwalMichigan State University J-School graduate Andrew Atwal (BA-2012) recently landed a job reporting on oil markets for the Oil Price Information Service.

The service provides in-depth reporting on petroleum pricing and news. The service, which began covering the petroleum industry in 1977, has clients that include the top 200 oil companies, thousands of distributors, traders and government and commercial buyers of petroleum products.

Atwal says the position is heavy on database reporting and that the Knight Center environmental reporting class he took at MSU will serve him well in his new job

Since graduating from MSU in 2012, Atwal’s worked as reporter for a small daily newspaper in South Dakota, as well as an assistant editor for a newspaper in Atlantic City, N.J.

Exploring the impact of message framing on environmental capacity building

Knight Center doctoral students Ran Duan and Anthony Van Witsen present research at MSU's Environmental Science and Policy Program's symposium.

Knight Center doctoral students Ran Duan and Anthony Van Witsen present research at MSU’s Environmental Science and Policy Program’s symposium.

Ran Duan and Anthony Van Witsen are studying how the related loss/gain frames and local/distant frames may influence people’s perceptions of climate change issues.

The work could help inform support for environmental capacity building. The pair of Knight Center doctoral students want to investigate how individual perceptions contribute to the capacity of government to tackle climate change.

At a recent MSU Environmental Science and Policy Program poster presentation, Adam Zwickle, who is an assistant professor in School of Criminal Justice, suggested that the researchers consider  “avoiding loss” as a frame.   Jinhua Zhao, the director of the ESPP program, suggested looking at economic gaming which is a form of experimental research on how people make economic choices.

The researchers say such suggestions may help them broadly justify how environmental awareness contributes to environmental capacity building.

Posters analyzed for ability to communicate sustainability messages

Knight Center student Carie Cunningham recently presented an analysis of posters and flyers promoting sustainability.

Knight Center student Carie Cunningham recently presented an analysis of posters and flyers promoting sustainability.

Knight Center student Carie Cunningham recently presented a content analysis of several Michigan State University communications about sustainable practices.

She presented an analysis of flyers and posters at the Environmental Science and Policy Program’s symposium on environmental risk and decision making. The symposium facilitates engagement and exchange of ideas in sustainability, risk, and communication among several disciplines.

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Knight Center director, colleague present study on environmental journalism in Kyrgyzstan

The study examined Kyrgyzstan's most popular Russian-language online news site is

The study examined Kyrgyzstan’s most popular Russian-language online news site is

By Eric Freedman

There’s a dramatic disconnect between the environmental topics covered by two major news organizations and Kyrgyzstan and the issues that environmental nongovernmental organizations- – eco-NGOs – in the country feel are most important.

In addition, those eco-NGOs do a poor job reaching out to the media for coverage of their activities and those underreported environmental issues, meaning they have little influence on building the public policy agenda for the media, the public or government.

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