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 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 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 Rogers blamed climate-denying Republicans and outdated regulations.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.”
By David Poulson
Al Jazeera’s has got an interesting environmental news experiment underway.
A story about illegal fishing in West Africa is coupled with an interactive web game. It lets you play the role of a reporter tracking down the story.
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.
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.
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.
Bruno Takahashi discussed the future of environmental journalism recently as part of the Terre Verde program produced by KPFA in Berkeley, Calif.
Takahashi, the research director at Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, was part of a panel asked to address: “What place is there for environmental stories in the new, networked, multiplatform, and interactive world of media? How are environmental journalists engaging with the tools of this digital revolution?”
Other panelists included Jason Jaacks of University of California-Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and Jeff Burnside, president of the board of directors of the Society of Environmental Journalists and an investigative reporter at KOMO 4 (ABC), Seattle.
You can hear the broadcast here.
By Eric Freedman
Nine years after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina and four years after the BP Deepwater oil spill, the mega-topic was risk and resilience when about 700 environmental journalists, scientists and professional communicators from the United States and abroad gathered in New Orleans earlier this month.
By David Poulson
Students in MSU’s JRN 472 have been practicing shooting video and still images from a drone in WKAR’s Studio A.
The craft has a high definition camera that points outward and another camera that points directly below.
MSU students Juliana Moxley, left, and Carly Giles fly a drone in the journalism class called News eye in the clear sky. Image: Kevin Duffy