By 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
By Kate Habrel
Watching the eclipse in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Image: Jim Detjen
Even weeks after August’s summer eclipse, people are still talking about it.
I was in Sussex, Wisconsin, with my family when it happened. I’d spent the month leading up to it reading stories of how spectacular it would be, even for those not in the path of totality.
Many looked forward to the eclipse in a similar manner.
Malawi researcher Phillip Kamwendo, with hat, explains crop experiments to African journalists . Image: David Poulson
By David Poulson
Phillip Kamwendo finished explaining to a group of African reporters how he used “friendly bacteria” to improve groundnut seeds.
Then the Malawi researcher turned to a nearby team led by Michigan State University experts, flashed them a wide grin and gave them two thumbs up. It was a highlight for our team that had worked for days with Kamwendo and others at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) to refine how to explain their research.
“When he asked the reporters how many of them understood what an innoculant was, I felt like a proud grandmother,” said Emmanuella Delva, a program officer with USAID, the project’s funder, and who pitched in on the training.
Amol Pavangadkar, director of MSU’s Sandbox Studios, explains video production techniques to Malawian journalists. Image: David Poulson
The work in Malawi was the start of a two-continent, three-country training tour that I’m still on. I’m in Rwanda now, working with other scientists – including two MSU alums – at the International Potato Center to help them explain their research story to funders and others. Next week I’m in Lima, Peru, doing the same thing at that center’s South American headquarters.
The work in Malawi was by far the most complex. Continue reading
It can be challenging to clearly communicate electric power industry issues to the public because many media professionals are unfamiliar with industry concepts, regulations and technology. Yet clear communication by utilities and regulators is essential for informing customers who may have concerns about reliability, safety and cost. It can also inform public agencies and elected officials engaged in critical decision-making and policymaking that directly affect the economy, environment, national security and stock prices.
That’s an observation by Knight Center director Eric Freedman from “Working with the Press to Get the Story Right,” a column he wrote for the Electric Power Research Institute, the independent nonprofit research arm of electricity generation industry.