Local stories produce the megapicture of environmental issues

Eric Freedman

Eric Freedman

This column originally ran on Domemagazine.com.

By Eric Freedman

Earlier this summer, one of our MSU environmental journalism students, Kevin Duffy, wrote a Great Lakes Echo article about a new book on the history of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge as an illustration of a successful effort to bring conservation to cities.

Also this year, Great Lakes Echo ran an article by student Qing Zhang about volunteer stream quality monitors in the Huron River watershed. Eamon Devlin wrote about a gravel pit dispute in Plainfield Township, while Logan Clark told about the Upper Peninsula’s suitability for cougar habitat and Colleen Otte reported about proposals for new passenger train routes in Michigan.

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Can a tough pope be the climate’s bouncer?

PoulsonTeachBy David Poulson

St. Francis of Assisi is often depicted as a figurine – a gentle man with birds on his shoulders and rabbits at his feet.

I like the irony that the pope who took his name was once a barroom bouncer.

That isn’t to imply Pope Francis favors physical force for resolving conflict. Good bouncers convince unruly patrons to behave – or leave – without lifting a finger.

The best make them think it’s their idea.

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Knight Center faculty, grad students present environmental research

space weaths

Some participants at the 13th biennial Conference on Communication and Environment toured the Space Weather Prediction Center operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado. Image: Eric Freedman

Faculty and doctoral students affiliated with the Knight Center played an active role as presenters and panelists at the International Environmental Communication Association’s 2015 Conference on Communication and the Environment.

The theme of the June 11-14 gathering at the University of Colorado in Boulder was “Bridging Divides: Spaces of Scholarship and Practice in Environmental Communications.”

As part of an effort to increase the organization’s engagement with environmental journalism teachers and researchers, Knight Center research director Bruno Takahashi organized and moderated a panel called “Bridging Environmental Journalism and Practice, Research and Education: Current State and Mapping Future Directions.”

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Knight Center alum lands digital gig at Texas newspaper

Rachael Gleason

Rachael Gleason

Michigan State University Knight Center graduate Rachael Gleason recently joined the San Antonio Express-News as senior producer and data visualization journalist for the premium site, ExpressNews.com. http://www.expressnews.com/

Gleason will call on computer-assisted reporting skills she cultivated as a Knight Center student to focus on online interactive mapping, multimedia presentations and data visualization.

The 2011 alum previously worked for the Hearst Corp. sister newspaper, the Midland Reporter-Telegram, for three years as online editor, reporter and copy editor. She also freelanced for National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge blog.

During her time at Michigan State, Gleason was a Knight Center graduate assistant, editor of EJ Magazine, associate producer for EJ Television and reported these stories for Great Lakes Echo.

Follow her on Twitter.

Knight Center research director teaches climate change reporting in Dominican Republic

Bruno Takahashi in Santa Domingo

Bruno Takahashi in Santa Domingo

Knight Center Research Director Bruno Takahashi recently spent a week in the Dominican Republic conducting three workshops with journalists, journalism students and communication professionals interested in reporting about climate change and communicating about sustainability.

The visit, titled “Media coverage of climate change: Best practices in the face of uncertainty” (La cobertura mediática del cambio climático: Mejores prácticas en un contexto de incertidumbre), was sponsored and organized by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo.

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Hey you researchers, learn to tell your story

Straight from the horse’s mouth may sound like the best way to get information, but not if you don’t understand the whinnies and neighs.

Likewise, scientists and researchers may have the best understanding of their own work but can’t explain it if they lack translational skills. That is a part of the scientist-to-public interaction I’ve been working on with the development of a free online workshop called “Plan, Produce, Share: Telling your Research Story.”

The next one is June 15. Enroll here.

The workshop targets researchers, but it benefits anyone interested in engaging the public, decision makers and others with information that is technical or otherwise unfamiliar to the audience.

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Poulson recognized for decades of Great Lakes environmental journalism


Knight Center Senior Associate Director David Poulson was recognized by the International Association of Great Lakes Research for important and sustained efforts to inform the public and policymakers on Great Lakes issues.

BURLINGTON, Vt. – The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) has recognized David Poulson, the senior associate director of Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, for a career-long dedication to inform and educate the public and policymakers on Great Lakes issues.

Poulson, a 1982 graduate of MSU’s School of Journalism, is also editor of Great Lakes Echo, the Knight Center’s award-winning regional online environmental news service.

The IAGLR board of directors recognized him with the John R. (Jack) Vallentyne award given for contributing substantially to education and outreach in the Great Lakes community for at least 20 years and with an impact beyond the awardee’s local community.

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Knight Center researchers publish study on Twitter and typhoon

Christine Carmichael

Christine Carmichael

By: Christine Carmichael

The latest issue of Computers in Human Behavior features an article by Knight Center research director Bruno Takahashi and graduate student staff member Christine Carmichael, along with co-author Edson Tandoc Jr. of the Philippines.

The article, “Communicating on Twitter during a disaster: An analysis of tweets during Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines,” describes results from a content analysis of 1,000 tweets published by Twitter users before, during and after the deadly typhoon in the Philippines in November 2013. In light of the two recent and devastating earthquakes in Nepal, there is a growing need to understand the current and potential uses of social media services to assist those affected.

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