Author Archives: ericfreedman

Sustainability and community engagement in Northwest Michigan

By Eric Freedman

MSU Northern Michigan Horticulture Research Center  Image: Eric Freedman

MSU Northern Michigan Horticulture Research Center. Image: Eric Freedman

What do a trail system linking Northwest Michigan communities, a small-scale organic vegetable farm that supplies local restaurants with fresh produce, citizen-scientists alert for invasive aquatics, apple researchers and critics of an oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac have in common?

All are part of a drive for environmental sustainability and all involve some form of community engagement.

As Knight Chair in Environmental Journalism, I was part of a recent Sustainable Michigan Endowed Project study tour in the Cadillac-Traverse City-Leelanau Peninsula area. Continue reading

Of Nazis in the North Woods, journalism and stories that reemerge

Cover of the novel Wolf's Mouth by John Smolens.

Cover of the novel Wolf’s Mouth by John Smolens.

By Eric Freedman

As journalists, stories from our distant past sometimes reemerge in the context of a new story.

Most often it involves a person we’d covered who pops up again in the headlines.

That happened with me and Mario Cuomo, for example. The second story I wrote as a brand-new reporter for an Albany, N.Y., daily was about a 1976 Cuomo press conference on changes in lobbying regulations.  At the time he was the appointed New York secretary of state — a low-profile, unglamorous position that oversaw elections, lobbying and campaign finance. Continue reading

Knight Center alum named engagement editor of Lansing State Journal

Matt Hund

Matt Hund

Matt Hund, a 2008 graduate of the Knight Center’s masters program, is the new engagement editor of the Lansing (Michigan) State Journal.

Graduating from MSU—as well as several years working on campus—was a huge benefit to Hund while working toward and developing this opportunity. Time spent at the Knight Center created an editorial voice on important issues and a desire to engage the community in meaningful ways.

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Knight Center director lectures on environmental journalism in Russia


Eric Freedman at St. Petersburg University.

Knight Center director Eric Freedman recently spent a week giving guest lectures in two Russian cities about environmental journalism.

He spoke at the University of Television and Cinema and at Saint Petersburg State University in Saint Petersburg, the former Russian capital under the czars, and at Chelyabinsk State University in Chelyabinsk in the South Urals.

Both host cities face severe environmental challenges. In Saint Petersburg, the Neva River running through the heart of the city has been heavily polluted, primarily by industrial wastes, and it’s ranked the country’s third-most polluted city. Chelyabinsk and its environs have been described as among the world’s most contaminated places, due in large part to radioactive contaminants from a now-closed nuclear material processing facility, but also due to discharges from industrial plants.

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