Author Archives: Barb Miller

International reporting tips from the Society of Environmental Journalists conference

Editor’s note: This is the 3rdt in a series of posts by environmental reporting students on things they learned at the recent Society of Environmental Journalists conference.

By Audrey Porter

At the international reporting meet-up at the recent virtual Society of Environmental Journalists conference, the speakers gave introductions about themselves, including job titles and locations where they work.

Audrey Porter

But, surprisingly, they wanted to hear a lot about me as I wanted to learn more about them. I spoke and got a little advice about international reporting.

One was speaking world languages when traveling. A speaker mentioned that there are  a lot of ethics questions that you have to consider when you’re going between languages, when you’re jumping around places.

I responded by mentioning I took an anthropology class that talked about international traveling and how, in many countries, some things we say and do in America are not okay everywhere. So, if you’re doing international news, study the place you’re going and learn their language.

Another speaker added that getting good connections to people who  can help you with translators and other things  is the best first value in figuring out how to learn the language as a journalist. Continue reading

Switching perspective: Changing from victim to solver

Editor’s note: This is the 2nd in a series of posts by environmental reporting students on things they learned at the recent Society of Environmental Journalists conference.

By Yue Jiang

Yue Jiang

I was born in Beijing, a city that is surrounded by mountains on three sides and is a bit far from the ocean. I never saw an ocean until I was 11 years old. At that time, I visited the sea as a tourist or more like a spectator.

Neither do I live near the ocean, so why should I care about it? Those questions popped up when I was in geography class in my middle school.

One of our mandatory homework assignments was to recite and repeat the names of the seven oceans in the world. I didn’t know why they required me to do it, but I was glad to get points on my quiz. I used to think that the seven oceans stood for grades in my exam.

However, one thing changed my mind forever. I visited one of my friends whose campus was near the sea, which is famous for angling and birdwatching. My friend and I saw an aquatic diving bird at its last gasp with fishing line wrapped around its wings. We couldn’t save it, even if we cut the fishing line and called the conservation center.

The moment you watch life passing is always a turning point to think about something. I was afraid that the sea could be full of fishing line, which is a nightmare for most marine organisms.

Where does fishing line come from? From humans. Who leaves it in the sea? Humans. In my mind, the human impact on oceans is negative all the time.

With the severity of global warming, high sea levels have become a prevalent issue. I feel like more and more media intend to consider the ocean as victim and the human as inflictor.

In a workshop “Oceans, Coasts and the 2020 Election” at the recent Society of Environmental Journalists online conference, Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco, a world-renowned environmental scientist, referred to a dominant narrative that oceans are now higher, warmer and more acidic. With less oxygen, they also are less productive and less predictable, based on the 2019 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. Those stories and articles are strong evidence to prove my prejudice. I became radical and polarized. Continue reading

Learning from the Society of Environmental Journalists Conference

Editor’s note: This is the 1st in a series of posts by environmental reporting students on things they learned at the recent Society of Environmental Journalists conference.

By Anne Hooper

Anne Hooper

If you’re anything like me, hearing the word “conference” stirs up anxiety. The thought of being surrounded by experts as they converse in industry jargon is intimidating—especially when you’re there to get a scoop.

With a few tips and tricks, however, you can take intimidation out of the equation.

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Capturing hard times – in only 6 words

By Eric Freedman

The COVID-19 pandemic is all around us, saturating news reports, dominating conversations, shuttering businesses, isolating hundreds of millions, disrupting schools, derailing sports and the arts, befuddling science.

Meanwhile, pummeling us are natural disasters as diverse as wildfires in Australia and the American West, hurricanes and tropical storms in the Caribbean and Southeast U.S., typhoons in Japan and the Koreas, landslides in Nepal and India.

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