Author Archives: davepoulson

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

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

The winning projects were selected in the center’s second statewide 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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When science meets poetry

By Eric Freedman

Last summer, Knight Center Senior Associate Director Dave Poulson suggested that researchers
present their findings in haiku as a way to emphasize the importance of clear, concise writing
and avoidance of jargon.

I found that an intriguing idea, so I carried out a quick experiment with a class of about 20
doctoral and master’s students in MSU’s Environmental Science & Policy Program. Their
instructors, Professors Wei Zhang (Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences) and Adam Zwickle
(Criminal Justice) had invited me to lecture about science communication, and I seized the

In case you don’t remember what a haiku (俳句) is from your high school creative writing or
literature classes, it’s a short 3-line poem with a 5-7- 5 syllable structure and uses sensory
language to capture a feeling or image.

I gave the students this definition and four science-related examples from and
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Knight Center hosts free Grand Rapids workshop on covering rivers

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism will host a free one-day workshop on Saturday, April 1, for journalists about reporting on river issues as diverse as pollution, wetlands, habitat restoration, water recreation, shoreline development and dam removal.

“Covering the Grand River — Covering Any River” workshop is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the L.V. Eberhard Center on Grand Valley State University’s downtown Grand Rapids campus. It’s open to staff and freelance journalists in any media. Lunch is free. Enrollment is limited.

Presenters will be from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, GVSU’s Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute and Environmental Health News. A riverfront walking tour (rain or shine) will be led by the Grand Valley Metro Council’s director of environmental programs.

The Knight Center, which is part of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, held a similar workshop last year in Lansing that focused on covering drinking water in the aftermath of the Flint water crisis.

For information or to register, email Barb Miller at or call 517-432-1415.

This event is part of the year of water festivities.


Environmental photographer visits MSU

Virginia placement from "Next Stop Atlantic" exhibit by Stephen Mallon

Virginia placement from “Next Stop Atlantic” exhibit by Stephen Mallon

By Kate Habrel

Subway cars and the Atlantic Ocean are two things not typically paired. But they are exactly what photographer Stephen Mallon brings together in his solo exhibition “Next Stop Atlantic.”

The exhibition features photos of subway cars being tossed into the waters of the Atlantic, where they will become barrier reef habitats for aquatic life. It opened at the MSU Museum on Feb. 20 and will run through September.

Mallon often works at the intersection between environment and industry. He’s photographed everything from the world’s biggest ships to the American recycling industry. In 2009, his series “Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549” told the photographic story of Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s emergency landing of a passenger plane in the Hudson River.

Mallon’s work has appeared in National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Mallon is at MSU from Feb. 26 through March 3 to speak to photography, journalism and communication students during class visits. On March 1, he will visit the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism for lunch with students.

Mallon will also give a free gallery talk on March 2 at 12:15 p.m. It’s open to the public.

Journalism Professor Howard Bossen is the exhibition curator.