Injecting international content into environmental journalism courses

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 2.56.27 PMIt’s possible to integrate international content into a variety of journalism courses, including environmental journalism, Knight Center director Eric Freedman said on a panel at the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication annual conference in San Francisco.
Drawing from the experience of MSU’s JRN 472/JRN 872 Environmental Reporting course, he explained how Knight Center students report about issues and events that cross the U.S.-Canadian border in the Great Lakes region. To illustrate, he pointed to four student-produced stories that appeared on Great Lakes Echo.

Eric Freedman

Eric Freedman

Freedman highlighted three underlying concepts to help journalism students think beyond borders:

  • Environmental problems and challenges pay no attention to political borders.
  • Those problems have human impacts on all sides of political borders, but countries – even neighbors – vary tremendously in their willingness & ability to address those problems.
  • Expert sources from more than one country add diverse perspectives to environmental coverage.

He also suggested to the audience of journalism educators from the United States and abroad a variety of sourcing for experts and places to find story ideas that their students can use, such as:

  • Government agencies
  • Research institutes & universities
  • Industry and environmental advocacy groups – regional, national, local
  • Multinational agencies such as the World Health Organization, United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations Development Programme
  • Local activists, many of whom can be identified from local press reports.
    Professor Manuel Chavez

    Professor Manuel Chavez

  • Academic journals accessible through such databases as Web of Science, Google Scholar and ProQuest
  • Professional and academic conferences.

Knight Center affiliated faculty member Manuel Chavez organized the panel for AEJMC’s International Communication Division.