Three high schools win journalism-environmental science grants from the Knight Center

The Knight Center is awarding $2,000 grants to three Michigan high schools for collaboration between journalism and environmental science classes.

The winning projects were selected from six proposals in the first year of competition.

The Knight Center also has matched the schools with professional journalism mentors to work with the students and teachers for guidance and advice on the projects.

The grants go to:

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MSU alum credits CNS, Echo for success at Chicago Tribune

Celeste Bott

Celeste Bott

By Colleen Otte

Michigan State University alumna Celeste Bott said the favorite story she reported for the Knight Center’s Great Lakes Echo is one about the salvaging of an enormous, historic grain storage elevator.

The primary advocate and source was a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, the publication where she is now working.

“Believe it or not,” laughed Bott, who is a statehouse reporting intern for the Chicago Tribune, a position that is part of her pursuit of a masters degree from the University of Illinois’ public affairs reporting program. Continue reading

When bobcats go wild — umm, viral

Eric Freedman

Eric Freedman

By Eric Freedman

It seemed like an interesting but straightforward story for the Knight Center’s news service, Great Lakes Echo.

An Ohio appeals court ruled that a man could keep his pet bobcat without a state Department of Agriculture license and Agriculture Department permit.

Our readers love hearing about wildlife, we often report on environmental litigation in what we label “Green Gavel” stories, and we found the court decision during our weekly trolling through legal databases.

The legal issue was technical, not sexy: Does the Ohio law as written cover bobcats although they’re not specifically mentioned?

Sure, there were a couple of factual oddities to spice up the story. For example, the bobcat’s name is Thor. Its owner is a police detective in Columbus. Thor never goes outdoors. And the owner had no problem getting an annual license until the state legislature adopted a 2012 law to regulate private ownership of “dangerous wild animals.”

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Knight Center awards new documentary grants

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism has selected three 2016 documentary-making projects for $3,500 grants to MSU faculty-student teams.

These are the winning proposals:

  • “Vaults of Heaven: Competing in the EPA RainWorks Challenge” The film will document how an MSU student planning and design team created its entry for the 2015 EPA Campus RainWorks Challenge, using the new MSU Medical Campus in Grand Rapids. Faculty: Jon Burley, School of Planning, Design & Construction. Students: Na Li and Xumei Wang, School of Planning, Design & Construction.
  • “Food Stories Project: Crafting of Ricing Moccasins.” Wild rice (manoomin) is sacred to the Anishinabek, and the animation project will document the traditional making of wild ricing moccasins. Faculty: Serena Carpenter, School of Journalism. Student: Sage Miller, Department of Media & Information. Consultant Barbara Barton.
  • “Living at the Edge of Climate Change: Lessons from Tanzanians Who Are Coping.” The documentary will tell stories of how people in Tanzania are coping with the leading edge of climate change and how farmers and herders are adapting to a new reality. Sue Carter, School of Journalism, and Jennifer Olsen, Department of Media & Information. Student: John Lavaccare, School of Journalism. Editor: Kirk Mason, alum.

In addition to public dissemination of the projects, the Knight Center will be able to use them on its website and for presentation in classes, workshops and other center activities.

This is the second year of the center’s campuswide grant competition. The proposals were selected after a university-wide open competition.