Category Archives: Students

Journalism and non-journalism students at Michigan State University explore how to better report environmental issues to the public at the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.

Preparing to enter the Red Cedar River

Environmental journalism courses can help students meet the School of Journalism’s elective requirements. They can also be used as part of an environmental theme to complete the school’s concentration requirement by combining them with environment-related courses outside the journalism program. See your academic adviser or contact the Knight Center.
Non-journalism students interested in environmental issues are encouraged to contact instructors to discuss waiver of pre-requisites. Often a journalism environmental course may meet communication course requirements of other departments.
EJA gathering for review session
Undergraduates are also encouraged to join the student Environmental Journalism Association and write for Great Lakes Echo to gain resume-building experience and clips.
Undergraduate students are eligible for several awards and scholarships in environmental journalism.
They are encouraged to augment their study with environment classes and programs elsewhere at MSU such as the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment.

Echo staffer provides tips for covering sustainable agriculture

Marie Orttenburger

Marie Orttenburger

A visit to the Society of Environmental Journalists annual conference provided a new tool for the organization’s toolkit for reporters covering the environment.

Marie Orttenburger wrote up information provided at a conference panel and did additional research for a tipsheet on covering sustainable agriculture for the organization’s online toolbox. Find it here.

Orttenburger is an assistant editor and reporter at Great Lakes Echo – the news service provided by Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.



Environmental public radio reporting internship available for MSU students

The Knight Center is supporting a paid summer internship at Interlochen Public Radio.

It is open to students or recent graduates associated with MSU. The ideal start and end dates for this position are June 1, 2017  to August 25, 2017. However, the dates are flexible according to the intern’s availability. The deadline to apply is January 27, 2017.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for any aspiring journalist interested in public media and the environment. The intern will learn to probe people for detailed information, connect ideas and facts into a larger context, and tell stories that help people understand the natural world.

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Deadline looms for documentary funding

Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism will award up to three grants of $3,500 each to support the making of environment-related documentaries (video, audio or other digital media) by MSU faculty-stu-dent teams.

The deadline for submission: Dec. 1, 2016, at 5 p.m. Decisions to be announced approximately Feb. 1, 2017. The competition is open to faculty and students from all departments at MSU.

The maximum award is $3,500 for one year.

These must be documentaries, not public service announcements or advocacy pieces.
The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism must be credited for underwriting the project and allowed to use your documentary, including linking on our website and presentation in classes, workshops and other activities.
Allowable expenses include travel, essential equipment, supplies, pay for students and festival & competition entry fees. All expenditures must comply with MSU procedures and rules. Any equipment purchased remains the property of MSU. Grant funds must be expended within one year from the date of approval by MSU Contracts and Grants.


  • Working title
  • Medium: video, audio or other digital media
  •  Project summary (200 words maximum): What compelling story will you tell?
  • Estimated timeline (Be realistic)
  • Most likely audiences: Whom do you expect to watch or listen to it?
  • For video & audio documentaries, what length do you expect the nal version to be?
  • Distribution plans: How will you disseminate your product?
  • Budget plan: How do you plan to spend the money?
  • Team members
  • Faculty: name, rank and department or school and project role, with abbreviated CV
  • Students: name, year, major and project role, with resume
  • Potential problems and obstacles
  • Links to any relevant projects by team members or bring a digital recording to the Knight Center office at 382 Com Arts Building by the deadline

Email questions to Eric Freedman, director,
Email submissions to Barbara Miller,

The top of the Blue Ridge Loop lends a beautiful panorama overlooking Lake Berryessa.

Lake Berryessa: A beautiful landscape quietly suffering

Reporter Marie Orttenburger attended the “Mercury Pollution, Wildfire and Fault Line Impacts on Lake Berryessa” tour at the Society of Environmental Journalists 26th Annual Conference. This podcast is her reflection on the experience.


I’m Marie Orttenburger. I recently traveled to Sacramento for the Society of Environmental Journalist’s 26th annual conference. Part of what’s cool about the conference is its inclusion of tours of the host location. You pick the trip most akin to your interests — based either on subject matter or how you’d like to spend your day. Continue reading