Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources accepting applications for Great Lakes Energy Institute

Over the past century, three fossil fuels – petroleum, natural gas and coal – have dominated U.S. energy production and consumption. In 2015, these fossil fuels made up 81.5% of total energy consumption in the country. While fossil fuels have held well above an 80% share for the last one hundred years, that 2015 number marks a new low. And it may be a sign of big changes to come.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration is projecting that, by 2040, renewable energy generated by wind and solar will eclipse the contributions of biofuels and nuclear power and even rival coal in our national energy make up. Natural gas, meanwhile, will vie with petroleum for top billing.

IJNR’s Great Lakes Energy Institute will see how these changes are playing out on the ground. Journalists selected for the fellowship will enjoy a week-long field trip exploring everything from gas and oil pipelines and trains carrying crude through the Great Lakes region, to a potential new shale gas play in Michigan and Wisconsin’s largest solar array – built on the remains of a decommissioned coal operation.

Fellows will meet with scientists, business people, lawmakers, activists and local citizens as they take a deep dive into the stories that arise when economy, energy and our environment intersect.

The Great Lakes Energy Institute will begin and end in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


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.