Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.
A former Echo writer has won national recognition for a series of environmental stories about the Great Lakes.
Brian Bienkowski, now a reporter and editor at Environmental Health News, received second place in a beat reporting category in the contest sponsored by the national Society of Environmental Journalists.
The series is called Stories of the Great Lakes’ People, Places and Creatures.
Bienkowski, a 2012 graduate of the Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, also received the same award in the same contest last year.
While at MSU, he received the center’s Rachel Carson Award for outstanding environmental journalism graduate student. I figured it would be a good idea to probe for his formula for success:
Read the full story from the Associated Press.
Journalist and scientific organizations accused the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday of attempting to muzzle its independent scientific advisers by directing them to funnel all outside requests for information through agency officials.
In a letter Tuesday, groups representing journalists and scientists urged the EPA to allow advisory board members to talk directly to news reporters, Congress and other outside groups without first asking for permission from EPA officials. An April memo from the EPA’s chief of staff said that “unsolicited contacts” need to be “appropriately managed” and that committee members should refrain from directly responding to requests about committees’ efforts to advise the agency.
Read the full post on The Source.
Critique is always annoying when it’s expressed in indefinite terms. So, I’m going to do something I don’t normally like to do and pick a recent example of a data journalism story gone wrong. This is not to scold those who reported it—indeed, I’m well aware of how easy it is for me to make similar mistakes—but because a specific example provides an explicit illustration of how reporting on data can go wrong and what we can learn from it. And so, let’s begin by talking about porn. [LB note: You have been warned.]
Thanks to generous support of the Fund for Environmental Journalism (FEJ) by the Grantham Foundation and many individuals, the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) is able to offer professional journalists a fifth year of mini-grant opportunities for projects and entrepreneurial ventures related to reporting on the environment. The next deadline for proposals will be Midnight (EDT) on July 15th. Decisions are announced approximately 60 days after the deadline. Winning projects receive grants of $350 to $3,500.
Over the past four years, SEJ has provided over $90,000 in essential support, or acted as a fiscal agent to facilitate grant support, for 51 reporting projects in various media. Grants are made to both newsroom staff and freelance journalists to cover costs of travel, lab testing, graphics and website development, document access, and other budget items without which journalists would be unable to produce and distribute specific timely stories about important environmental issues. In addition to the grant, SEJ provides mentoring support to any grantees requesting it.
To learn more about the FEJ grant program, including applicant eligibility and submission guidelines, or to see information and links about past awards, please go to the Fund for Environmental Journalism page of SEJ’s website. Please note that at this point in time, only online applications in English are being accepted; and international applicants must give advance consideration to how they expect to receive funds, as SEJ cannot arrange wire transfers and no more than 10% of a grant may be spent on its delivery.
To the interested public, please consider making your own donation today, and help SEJ build the Fund for Environmental Journalism to support new work! If you would like to help experienced environmental journalists continue producing rich and rigorously investigated work, please make a gift on SEJ’s secure website. To arrange a sustaining (monthly), planned/legacy or memorial gift, please email the SEJ office.
The Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources invites applications for their inaugural round of the Frank Allen Field Reporting Awards. The application deadline is April 25.
IJNR will accept proposals for grants of up to $1000 to help defray the costs of reporting projects that focus on natural resources, the environment, energy, development, agriculture, environmental justice, and public health.
The purpose of this grant is to provide financial support for qualified, professional journalists, in order to allow them to report on important topics that they may not otherwise be able to cover. At the discretion of the selection committee, up to eight awards may be granted.
Awards may be given for the full amount requested, or may be given for a percentage of the full amount.
Grant money may be spent on any costs incurred for normal reporting activities: travel, lodging, research, etc. If you have questions, please feel free to ask: email@example.com.
Via the Society for Environmental Journalists.
Congress funds and orders up a great array of non-partisan expert explainers on the issues of the day via the Congressional Research Service. Unfortunately, Congress does not think the voting public can handle the truth, and keeps the reports secret. We thank the anonymous leakers who give them to the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists — which thoughtfully publishes them. Here are some that environmental reporters may find useful:
- “Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Research, Development, and Demonstration at the U.S. Department of Energy,” Congressional Research Service (R42496), February 10, 2014, by Peter Folger.
- “Food Fraud and ‘Economically Motivated Adulteration’ of Food and Food Ingredients ,” Congressional Research Service (R43358), January 10, 2014, by Renée Johnson.
- “The FutureGen Carbon Capture and Sequestration Project: A Brief History and Issues for Congress,” Congressional Research Service (R43028), February 10, 2014, by Peter Folger.
- “The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy: In Brief,” Congressional Research Service (R43396), February 10, 2014, by Jared T. Brown.
- “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Negotiations,” Congressional Research Service (R43387), February 4, 2014, by Shayerah Ilias Akhtar and Vivian C. Jones.
- “Critical Infrastructures: Background, Policy, and Implementation,” Congressional Research Service (RL30153), February 21, 2014, by John D. Moteff.
- “Drought in the United States: Causes and Current Understanding,” Congressional Research Service (R43407), February 26, 2014, by Peter Folger and Betsy A. Cody.
- “U.S. Rail Transportation of Crude Oil: Background and Issues for Congress,” Congressional Research Service (R43390), February 6, 2014, by John Frittelli, Paul W. Parfomak, Jonathan L. Ramseur, Anthony Andrews, Robert Pirog, and Michael Ratner.
Via the Society for Environmental Journalists.
We all know it. Some agencies and organizations publish data in PDF format to keep journalists and the public from using the raw data. Take heart. Help is on the way.
There are two kinds of files in the PDF format, a page-description language developed by Adobe for use with its Acrobat reader. One kind arranges text and graphics on a page, and the other is simply a scanned bitmap. Only the first kind is easy to convert to raw data.
One easy software tool — Tabula — was demonstrated at the annual conference of the National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting (NICAR) in Baltimore February 27, 2014. You can download it here.
We gave it a test run. It worked fine, though you want to pay attention to the instructions unless you have a tutor guiding your mouse hand. We started with this PDF — the biggest available database of coal-ash sites from Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project. We ran it through an intermediate stage as a comma-separated-variable (CSV) text file. Then imported it into Excel. It came out as a perfectly good spreadsheet, which you can find here.