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 24.kg.

The study examined Kyrgyzstan’s most popular Russian-language online news site is 24.kg.

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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Knight Center grads discuss book, environmental journalism careers

 We interviewed Knight Center graduates Amanda Peterka (BA ’09) and Hannah Northey (MA ’07) about a book they contributed to as reporters for Environment & Energy Publishing in Washington D.C. They also described what it’s like working for the news service and how to prepare for a career in environmental journalism.

Q: Who was the most interesting person you met while reporting for this book?

Amanda Peterka

Amanda Peterka now

Amanda Peterka: We spoke only by phone, but it has to be the former head of the Biofuels Center for North Carolina, W. Stephen Burke. He seemed grateful that I called out of the blue to ask for his story, and when we spoke he chose each word very thoughtfully and deliberately. He writes emails as if he were writing a letter, very formal with the date written out at the top and an electronic signature at the bottom. And I only found this out at the end of our conversation, but he owns the country’s largest collection of miniature folk art houses. I immediately knew he had to be my lede in my chapter on biofuels.

Hannah Northey

Hannah Northey now

Hannah Northey: Jim Rogers, a charismatic and loquacious man who served as president and CEO of Duke Energy for seven years, was an interesting interview – both for what he said and what he didn’t say. Rogers has been burnishing his reputation as an influential and progressive utility executive willing to tackle climate change since he stepped down at Duke. He’s now a familiar face among D.C. energy circles, known for his comments about embracing distributed solar energy and greening the U.S. electric grid. I asked Rogers about criticism that he was leaving a fossil-heavy legacy at Duke despite his call to embrace renewables. Rogers blamed climate-denying Republicans and outdated regulations. Rogers’ view into such a large and complex utility that has a lot of weight in North Carolina was enlightening – it also flies in the face of critics who say Rogers himself didn’t try hard enough to push renewables. Others, notably, have said Rogers just couldn’t “turn the Duke ship.”

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Knight Center graduates contribute to book on energy and politics

Amanda Peterka

Amanda Peterka

Hannah Northey

Hannah Northey

Two graduates of Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism helped write a book about how shifting politics have affected North Carolina environment and energy policy.

Turning Carolina Red: Reports From the Front of an Energy Culture War represents an innovative way of explaining energy policy in “politically-charged times,” a story with implications for the rest of the country, according to Environment & Energy Publishing.

Among the eight writers who produced the company’s first ebook are MSU graduates Hannah Northey and Amanda Peterka.

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Knight Center grad gets promotion

Andy McGlashen

Andy McGlashen

Knight Center graduate Andy McGlashen (MA ’09) in June became communications director for the Michigan Environmental Council, a nonprofit organization that represents 70 environmental, health and social justice groups at the state Capitol.

McGlashen joined MEC in 2010 and previously was development and communications associate. He replaces Hugh McDiarmid, Jr., who accepted a position with the International Joint Commission.

A former correspondent for MSU’s Capital News Service, McGlashen was the 2009 recipient of the Knight Center’s Rachel Carson Award for Outstanding Graduate Student. His reporting has appeared in newspapers around the state, along with Midwest Energy News, The Daily Climate, Environmental Health News, Great Lakes Echo and other outlets. He also has covered health and medicine for MSU’s media relations office.

McGlashen even has shown some Great Lakes love on national television.

He can occasionally be found playing guitar around Lansing with Uncle Alice and the Gals, a fledgling old-time and bluegrass band that includes Knight Center graduates Alice Rossignol (banjo) and Brian Bienkowski (mandolin), and featured fellow alumnus Jeff Brooks Gillies on dobro before he moved to Colorado.

Knight Center researcher examines cognitive impacts of screen size

Carie Cunningham does research with an eye-tracking machine.

Carie Cunningham does research with an eye-tracking machine.

Doctoral candidate Carie Cunningham, who is part of the Knight Center’s research collaborative, will discuss the impact of viewing screen size on cognition at the National Communication Association Nov. 20-23 in Chicago.

Here is an abstract of her presentation:

As technology evolves, television consumers are acquiring many more viewing options. Gone are the days of a single, stationary television set with limited programming. Today, consumers have many more options in the programming, as well as, how and where those programs can be delivered. Those options include, but are not limited to, a wide variety of viewing devices such as smart phones, laptops, and a host of other electronic devices that heretofore served primarily as game or music players. A common practice in television news is having the exact same video that is seen on television to also be displayed on other media devices like computers or cell phones. This practice assumes a ‘one-­size-fits-all’ effect, where all video players play the same visuals regardless of screen size or viewing distance. This practice of using the same video is assumed to capture attention in the same way despite the different devices.

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