Captivate Kids with Science News

Read the full story from the Society for Environmental Journalists.

I’ve been a science journalist for more than four decades, over the years probing the long-range transport of persistent organic pollutants, counterintuitive low-dose impacts of many toxicants and the myriad ways humans have inadvertently been altering the biogeochemistry of our planet.

My reporting has taken me to the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, to Alaska’s “science city” (Barrow), to the windswept South Pole and to nuclear- and chemical-weapons facilities. And I’ve covered electromagnetic-pulse weaponry, helped pioneer coverage of hormone-mimicking pollutants and was the first reporter to showcase the emerging global threat of pharmaceutical contamination of surface waters.

But the last decade has unquestionably proven the most satisfying.

Why? It’s since then that I started bringing news of science and tech advances to a much younger audience — notably tweens and teens — through the magazine I edit, Science News for Students.

The Path to Better Investigative Science Reporting

Read the full story from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Investigative journalism and science reporting are both enjoying post-recession era renaissances. That makes 2016 an ideal time to consider how these fields can overlap.

Will Journalists Heed the Lessons of Flint?

Read the full story from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The lead-laced drinking water debacle in Flint, Mich., became a top national story in December 2015. By January 2016, a Poynter Institute blog headlined: “How the Media Blew Flint.”

Did we blow it? Well, yes and no.

Almost everybody blew Flint.

Earlier warnings and louder watchdogging might have headed off the failures and kept neurotoxic lead out of kids’ bloodstreams. To competent water treatment engineers, to conscientious drinking water regulators, to experienced environmental reporters, none of this should have been a surprise.

Flint was a repeat of lessons taught long ago.

The Subtle Art of Covering Climate Cycles

Read the full story from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The planet is enduring an extraordinary jolt.

A 13-year warming lull was recently followed by an unprecedented jump in global temperatures. The temperature spike is coinciding with a surge in worldwide efforts to slow global warming, and it appears to be helping to change the minds of Americans about global warming during a precariously optimistic time for global climate diplomacy.

It’s also presenting reporting challenges for journalists. What exactly is happening, and what’s the clearest way to report it?

National Endowment for the Humanities funding available for radio, TV, and film projects

Proposals due August 10, 2016.

The Media Projects program supports film, television, and radio projects that engage general audiences with humanities ideas in creative and appealing ways. All projects must be grounded in humanities scholarship in disciplines such as history, art history, film studies, literature, drama, religious studies, philosophy, or anthropology. Projects must also demonstrate an approach that is thoughtful, balanced, and analytical (rather than celebratory). The approach to the subject matter must go beyond the mere presentation of factual information to explore its larger significance and stimulate critical thinking.

NEH is a national funding agency, so the projects that we support must demonstrate the potential to attract a broad general audience. Film and television projects may be single programs or a series addressing significant figures, events, or ideas. Programs must be intended for national distribution, via traditional carriage or online distribution. The Division of Public Programs welcomes projects that range in length from short-form to broadcast-length video.

The Division of Public Programs also encourages film and television projects that examine international themes and subjects in the humanities, in order to spark Americans’ engagement with the broader world beyond the United States. These projects should demonstrate international collaboration by enlisting scholars based both in the United States and abroad, and/or by working with an international media team. The collaborations should bring broad cross-cultural perspectives to the proposed topics and should be intended primarily for U.S. public audiences.

Radio projects, including podcasts, may involve single programs, limited series, or segments within an ongoing series. They may also develop new humanities content to augment existing radio programming or add greater historical background or humanities analysis to the subjects of existing programs.

Programs receiving production grants may be either broadcast or disseminated online. They may be intended for national or regional distribution. NEH encourages projects that engage public audiences through multiple formats in the exploration of humanities ideas. Proposed projects might include complementary components to a film, television, or radio project. These components should deepen the audience’s understanding of the subject in a supplementary manner: for example, book/film discussion programs, supplemental educational websites, or museum exhibitions.

Development Grants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production. Grants should result in a script and may also yield a detailed plan for outreach and public engagement in collaboration with a partner organization or organizations.

Production Grants support the production and distribution of films, television programs, and radio programs that promise to engage a broad public audience.

Job Posting: Executive Director, The Society of Environmental Journalists

Are you dedicated to the future of environmental journalism?

Can you run a mission-driven nonprofit whose members influence a global dialogue?

Can you see the forest and the trees of running a million-dollar organization?

Do you have demonstrated skills in nonprofit development, financial management, time management, and the ecosystems of both media and the environment?

Can you bring out the best in a small, star-studded staff? Can you work with volunteers?

Do you have a sense of mission — and a sense of humor?

Are you curious, energetic, fearless, strategic and entrepreneurial?

If so, SEJ welcomes your application to be their next Executive Director.


The Society of Environmental Journalists seeks an Executive Director to lead and support our team, recruiting, connecting, educating and empowering journalists around North America and the world to strengthen coverage and advance public understanding of environmental issues. This position is exempt and full-time, with competitive salary and excellent benefits. Candidates should be aware that the Board is considering moving the location of SEJ’s HQ. Read the full job description here.

Beth Parke to step down as Society of Environmental Journalists executive director

The Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Board of Directors today announced Beth Parke’s intent to step down from her role as executive director by early 2017, marking more than two decades of remarkable service. The organization is now launching a search for a new executive director to lead SEJ in its mission of informing and engaging the public on energy and environmental issues. Parke will continue in her role as executive director through the search and transition process.

As SEJ’s founding executive director, Parke has guided the organization through decades of programs designed to connect, support and educate colleagues and encourage newcomers to the beat.  SEJ’s work gained international recognition as thousands of journalists sharpened their skills, advanced their careers and raised public awareness of some of the world’s most challenging and fascinating environmental issues. Throughout her tenure, Parke has worked side by side with gifted longtime staffers Jay Letto, conference director, and Christine Bruggers, associate director.

“I have been proud to represent the Society of Environmental Journalists, and will always be so glad to be a part of it,” Parke said. “I am forever grateful to SEJ for giving me the opportunity to help build something profoundly meaningful and learn something new every day. Now it’s someone else’s turn.”

“We’d prefer that Beth remain in her role forever,” said SEJ Board President Jeff Burnside. “But she has graciously agreed to help guide the transition to our future executive director so that SEJ can build on Beth’s astonishing legacy.”

Under Parke’s leadership, SEJ has become the world’s leading group of professional journalists, reporters, authors and academics who focus on issues of energy and the environment. On any given day, the journalism delivered by SEJ’s 1,300 members can engage tens of millions around North America and the globe.

Parke has been a creative, entrepreneurial leader and steadfast steward of SEJ’s mission, particularly during a period of significant change for both environmental issues and the media landscape. She drew together and retained a dedicated and talented staff and hundreds of volunteers supporting thousands of journalists, students and educators as environmental news coverage went from niche to essential mainstream.

Jim Detjen, SEJ’s founding board president, said Parke proved to be just the right talent to lead SEJ through its growing pains when it was just a fledgling organization. “I don’t think any of us ever expected the extraordinary job Beth would do over the next 25 years,” Detjen said. “Beth has provided SEJ with an incredible level of dedication, service, vision and hard work. She has been without a doubt the best executive director of any journalism organization in America. Her leadership has led SEJ to become widely admired and its members to become better journalists. I am thankful for all that Beth has done for the SEJ family. And I’m grateful she accepted our job offer almost a quarter century ago.”

Notable accomplishments for SEJ during Parke’s tenure include two dozen conference partnerships with leading universities, $500,000 in project grants disbursed by the Fund for Environmental Journalism and international recognition for SEJ and environment journalists worldwide. Parke represented SEJ in Lisbon as co-winner of the Gulbenkian Foundation’s 2010 International Prize for contributions to public understanding of “humanity’s relationship with nature and respect for biodiversity.”