Four Michigan State University alums now practicing journalism were among those who recently tried to resolve the challenges of communicating uncertainty.
The Washington D.C. workshop they participated in brought together about 45 scientists, lawyers and journalists from across the nation to discuss how each of those groups try to resolve and express uncertainty. They explored the professional ethics that make it difficult to communicate environmental issues as diverse as genetically modified crops and global climate change.
The workshop was organized by the Environmental Law Institute and funded by the National Science Foundation.
Jay Austin, a senior attorney at the Environmental Law Institute, helped organize the event. He is a graduate of MSU’s James Madison College (BA ’85) and the editor-in-chief of the institute’s Environmental Law Reporter. He directs that organization’s Program on the Constitution, Courts and Legislation.
Another MSU alum who attended was Amanda (Peterka) Reilly (BA’09) who reports on environmental issues for Greenwire at E&E Publishing in Washington D.C. She was recognized as the Knight Center’s outstanding undergraduate student when she studied at the university’s School of Journalism.
Another Spartan at the workshop was Brian Bienkowski (MA ’12), editor of Environmental Health news and Daily Climate. Bienkowski was recognized as the Knight Center’s outstanding graduate student while he was at MSU.
Also attending was David Poulson (BA ’82), editor of Great Lakes Echo and the senior associate director of the Knight Center. He also serves on the steering committee of the group that organized the event.
Another workshop is planned in the fall.