A delegation of Knight Center faculty and students participated in the 2017 annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Pittsburgh.
Knight Center director Eric Freedman and senior associate director Dave Poulson participate
in a panel, “How to Go from Prof(essional) to Prof(essor),” about making a successful transition from full-time professional journalist to full time college teaching.
Such a transition and the change in workplace cultures can be difficult, but colleges offer little guidance or mentoring for new faculty arriving from the profession. Freedman, Poulson and fellow panelists Randy Loftis of the University of North Texas, Kate Sheppard of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Sara Shipley Hiles of the University of Missouri drew on their own experiences to offer guidance and suggest best practices.
Poulson also is the academic representative on the SEJ board of directors.
Knight Center research director Bruno Takahashi and doctoral students Apoorva Joshi and Tony Van Witsen conducted a series of focus groups with environmental journalists for a collaborative study with SEJ that seeks to understand challenges journalists face in their professional development. The focus groups will help the research team to develop a survey instrument to gather input from SEJ members about their perceptions about the organization, including diversity, objectivity and knowledge acquisition about environmental issues, among other things.
Meanwhile, master’s students Jack Nissen and Gloria Nzeka gathered material and conducted interviews for articles for our two online news services, Great Lakes Echo and Food Fix, as well as on the Knight Center website.
Two Knight Center alumni participated in the conference as well. Brian Bienkowski, editor of Environmental Health News and the Daily Climate, moderated a panel on environmental justice. Carol Terracina-Hartman, who teaches journalism at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, also attended.