Knight Center students honored with scholarships, awards

MSU environmental journalism students have won more than $21,000 in scholarships and awards for their outstanding work this academic year, including stories written for Great Lakes Echo and research projects.

The money comes from generous endowments and donations to the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and the School of Journalism. The scholarships and awardees are:

Len Barnes AAA Michigan Fund Scholarship;  Kaylie Connors, Claire Moore, Marie Orttenburger, Apoorva Joshi

Don Caldwell Memorial Scholarship;  Carol Abbey Mensah, Yue Jiang

Rachael Carson Award;   Apoorva Joshi

Donald K. and Katherine K. Dahlstrom Scholarship;  Kyle Davidson

Michael A. and Sandra S. Clark Scholarship;  Cassidy Hough

Mickie L. Edwards Endowed Scholarship;  Leigh Anne Tiffany, Kurt Williams

Great Lakes Echo Excellence Award;  Marie Orttenburger

Edward Meeman Award;  Cassidy Hough

Kyle C. Kerbaway Graduate Scholarship;  Weiting Du

Eric Freedman Award;  Indri Maulidar



Knight Center Senior Associate Director interview about online teaching

Knight Center Senior Associate Director David Poulson was recently interviewed for a story about teaching journalism online. See story here.

The article was produced for the EJ Academy section of the Society of Environmental Journalists’ online newsletter. It interviewed several university instructors about the challenges and opportunities of moving courses online. Michigan State University and most all universities shifted classes online because of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Poulson has taught online before.  But the pandemic crisis in the middle of the semester required a significant shift for a course that had been designed for a traditional face-to-face environment.

Still, he said the move was relatively seamless and prompted him to adopt successful techniques that he may not have tried without the motivation of a sudden switch in platforms.

One tip: Require students to turn on their own video when using a remote conferencing system like Zoom, he said. They take the class more seriously, pay better attention and are more likely to interact with the instructor and each other.

The Michigan Press Association has recognized exceptional work by Knight Center students

The Michigan Press Association has recognized exceptional work by Knight Center environmental journalism students whose articles appeared in Great Lakes Echo in 2019. Here’s how they fared:

  • Investigative Reporting: Andrew Blok, Gina Navaroli, Meredith Katz & Claire Moore, 3rd place for “Coal Ash contamination common across the Great Lakes” and three related articles
  • Multimedia Reporting: Kelsi Kroll, 3rd place, for “Mowing milkweed means more monarchs”
  • Column-Review: Andrew Blok, 3rd place, for “Microscopic changes could mean big things for Great Lakes”
  • News Story: Anntaninna Biondo, honorable mention for “Poll shows Indigenous people more aware of Great Lakes threats”
  • Feature Story: Andrew Blok, honorable mention, for “Cuyahoga cleanup means it’s safer to eat Cuyahoga fish”

Andrew Blok

It is the first time Great Lakes Echo has entered the statewide competition.

The Journalism School’s Capital News Service later redistributed some of those stories to about 30 newspapers and online news outlets across Michigan.

The president of the Michigan Collegiate Press Association, Professor Joanne Williams of Olivet College, said, “It is more important than ever to recognize and encourage good, impactful journalism. That is what our college newspapers are doing, and with support and recognition from contests and professionals in the field, that will continue.”

Freedman named to board of nonprofit news fund

Knight Center director Eric Freedman has joined the board of directors of the newly formed  City Pulse Fund for Community Journalism, established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to support community and investigative reporting by the 18-year-old alternative weekly newspaper based in Lansing.

Freedman is the board’s vice president.

Berl Schwartz, the founder and publisher of City Pulse, said the new nonprofit will support the paper in its mission to continue and expand its local coverage, with an emphasis on investigative reporting.

Nonprofit status will allow gifts from individuals and foundations to be tax deductible, he added. “We hope the tax break will encourage our readers to be even more generous and help us win foundation support for special projects.”

Schwartz, the ex-general manager of the State News and a former adjunct faculty member at the MSU School of Journalism, is president of the board.

Bill Castanier is the board secretary. An alum of the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences, he’s a former journalist and state agency public information director who now writes frequently for City Pulse.