O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism

The O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism is accepting applications for its 2017-18 class of O’Brien Fellows. The deadline to apply is Jan. 26, 2018.

Environmental reporters around the country have made great use of the yearlong O’Brien Fellowship, examining Arizona’s water woesthreats to the Great LakesChina’s carbon emissions, the dangers of diacetyl and climate change.

This is a reporting fellowship. If you are looking for a sabbatical, this is not the program for you. O’Brien Fellows will return to their newsrooms after an academic year with a world-class project and a paid Marquette student intern for summer immediately following the fellowship. Once selected each fellow must agree to:

  • Spend the academic year working out of an office in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Engage with Marquette students and faculty in the pursuit of his/her fellowship project.
  • Participate in a conference spotlighting the work of the fellowship project – an event the college will produce and host after the fellowship period.

Applicants must have at least five years professional experience and produce journalism regularly as an employee or freelancer. Applicants may work as journalists for news or editorial departments of newspaper, wire services, radio, television, websites, online publications or magazines of general public interest. There are no academic prerequisites.

Applications from international journalists are welcome, but they must meet the same qualifications as journalists based in the United States. However, due to the competiveness of the O’Brien Fellowship award, international applicants must demonstrate extensive experience reporting and telling stories from countries other than their own.

Stipend and benefits

  • A stipend totaling $65,000, with health insurance and benefits if the fellow’s employer does not provide them, or if he or she works as an independent journalist.
  • A residency allowance based on family requirements for fellows moving to the Milwaukee metropolitan area: $4,000 for a single, married or partnered fellow, $6,000 for a fellow with one child, $7,000 for a fellow with two children, $8,000 for a fellow with three or more children.
  • A moving allowance between $2,000 and $4,000 depending on family size and distance. (Fellows from the Milwaukee metropolitan area are not eligible for a moving allowance.)
  • A travel allowance up to $4,000 depending on the nature of the project.
  • Up to $4,000 technology, research and equipment allowance for project-related expenses.
  • Fellows and their spouses are eligible during the fellowship for tuition remission (up to seven credits) for courses offered by Marquette University.

Questions? Please call:

Dave Umhoefer
O’Brien Fellowship interim director
Phone: (414) 288-5959
Email: david.umhoefer@marquette.edu

Join ProPublica’s New Project to Work With Local Newsrooms

Via ProPublica.

Over the past several years, economic pressures have reduced the ability of local and regional news organizations to support accountability reporting. That’s a challenge not just for journalism, but also for our democracy.

We’re committed to helping address that problem.

Earlier this year, we launched ProPublica Illinois, an initiative we hope to replicate in additional states in the coming years. Today, we’re announcing another part of our push: the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

With support from a new three-year grant, we will pay salary plus an allowance for benefits for one full-time reporter dedicated to investigative work throughout 2018 at each of up to six partner news organizations in cities with population below 1 million. The reporter will still work in and report to their home newsroom, but they will receive extensive guidance and support from ProPublica. Their work will be published or broadcast by their home newsroom and simultaneously by ProPublica as well.

If you lead a newsroom and are interested in working with us, send us a proposal laying out:

  • An investigative project. The proposed coverage can take any number of forms: a few long stories, an ongoing series of shorter stories, text, radio, video, or more. Please tell us why this coverage will be crucial to your community, any similar coverage that has been done before it, why this project has particular urgency now, and a plan for executing the work.
  • The reporter who you ideally envision spearheading the work, and the market salary you would need to pay them for 2018. This could be someone already on staff or someone else, for example, a freelancer with whom you aspire to work. Please include a personal statement by the reporter explaining his or her interest, at least three clips of their prior best work, and, of course, a resume.

The deadline for applications is Nov. 3. Please submit your proposal using this form. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, email us at localreporting@propublica.org. Entries will be judged by ProPublica editors, with advice from David Boardman, dean of Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication, and former executive editor of The Seattle Times. We expect that at least one winning proposal will come from Illinois. Winning proposals will be announced in December, to enable work to begin on Jan. 2.

Covering President Trump in a Polarized Media Environment

Read the full story from the Pew Research Center.

During the early days of the administration, similar storylines covered across outlets, but types of sources heard from and the assessments of Trump’s actions differed.

Ensia Mentor Program

The Ensia Mentor Program offers scientists and aspiring environmental journalists an opportunity to build their communication skills and professional network by creating an article, video, image gallery, infographic or other work on a topic of their choice for Ensia under the guidance of an experienced communicator.

How It Works

An Ensia mentorship begins with an application from an individual who is interested in producing a specific piece of content for Ensia but would benefit from guidance through the process. Ensia staff evaluate the proposal and the proposer for fit with Ensia and the mentor program. Individuals whose proposal is accepted are given an assignment (700-word article, short video, photo gallery, infographic or other work) for the proposed piece and matched with a mentor. The mentor advises the learner as needed, with both keeping in mind that the mentee is responsible for the assignment and Ensia editors are responsible for the editing process.

Mentees

Ensia Mentor Program mentees may be journalism students, scientists, professional communicators interested in expanding their skills, or professionals or students in other disciplines interested in environmental communications. Mentees receive a small stipend along with credit for their work.

Mentors

Ensia welcomes experienced environmental communicators — writers, videographers, designers — to share their knowledge and skills with the next generation as mentors. Ensia mentors guide learners one on one as they envision, refine, report and create an assigned work. They receive a small honorarium for their role and recognition, if desired, in the final product.

Winners: SEJ 16th Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment

The Society of Environmental Journalists is proud to present the winners of the 2016-2017 Awards for Reporting on the Environment. SEJ’s journalism contest is the world’s largest and most comprehensive awards for journalism on environmental topics.

Southern Environmental Law Center Calls for Submissions for Phil Reed Environmental Writing Awards

The Southern Environmental Law Center is now accepting submissions for the 2018 Phillip D. Reed Environmental Writing Awards. Nominations are welcome from anyone, including readers, authors, and publishers.

Presented each year during the Virginia Festival of the Book, the Reed Awards recognize outstanding writing on the southern environment in two categories: Book, for works of nonfiction (not self-published) and Journalism, for newspaper, magazine, and online writing published by a recognized institution (e.g. a news organization, university or nonprofit group).

  • All submissions must have been published between October 1, 2016, and September 30, 2017.
  • Submissions must relate to the natural environment in at least one of the following states: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee or Virginia.
  • Submissions are due October 1, 2017, at  SouthernEnvironment.org/submit.
  • Journalism entries must be at least 3,000 words.

There are three options for submitting entries: electronic copy, hard copy, or a website link where the submission is available for sale. Hard copy submissions will not be returned.

The Reed Award celebrates writers who achieve both literary excellence and extraordinary insight into the South’s natural heritage. Past winners exemplify the quality and diversity of contemporary environmental writing. They include:

    • Eminent biologist and Alabama native E.O. Wilson, the “father of biodiversity” and a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner;
    • Veteran environmental journalists Charles Seabrook, a longtime contributor to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Ben Raines, an accomplished filmmaker as well as an award-winning reporter on the Gulf Coast;
    • Writer, poet, and NPR commentator Janisse Ray, author of the celebrated Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, a New York Times Notable Book and the winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award;
    • University of the South forest biologist David Haskell, a Guggenheim Fellow, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and winner of the National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature; and
    •  Author Deborah Cramer, visiting scholar at MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative, whose books on the sea have won awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Academy of Sciences.

As in past years, the winners will be selected by a distinguished panel of judges that includes leading environmental writers, journalists, and advocates. The awards honor the late Phillip D. Reed, a distinguished attorney, a committed environmental activist, and a founding trustee of SELC.

Please contact Chris Reiter, Reed Award Coordinator, at creiter@selcva.org, or 434-977-4090 for any additional questions.

Lead in Drinking Water Remains Widespread Problem

Read the full backgrounder from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

While the water crisis in Flint, Mich., lingers on, it is becoming clear that the problem of toxic lead in people’s drinking water is widespread across the United States, as are stories about it for journalists to pursue.

There are Flint disasters happening, or waiting to happen, across much of the United States, especially in the aging water systems of the Eastern states. Many news outlets have already found serious lead problems, whether in schools or systemwide. Locations are widespread: BuffaloNewarkProvidenceAtlanta and Chicago, to name only a few.