Author Archives: Marie Orttenburger

Baba Brinkman brings beats to SEJ conference


By Marie Orttenburger
SACRAMENTO – Baba Brinkman uses rap to communicate about otherwise esoteric subjects.
The Canadian artist peformed recently at the 26th annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Sacramento and even wrote a rap about the meeting and about outgoing executive director Beth Parke while he was there.
His most recent album, The Rap Guide to Climate Chaos, will be released September 30.
It focuses on climate change and the science and politics behind it. Reporter Marie Orttenburger caught up with him at the conference to learn more about his craft. Listen to the interview and to his performance of IPCC – a reference to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Beth Parke reflects on 26 years at helm of Society of Environmental Journalists


By Marie Orttenburger
Beth Parke has been the Society of Environmental Journalists’ executive director from the 26-year-old organization’s beginning. This year, she will step down from that position. Reporter Marie Orttenburger talked with her at the organization’s national conference in Sacramento about her proudest achievements, where the organization is headed and her advice for the next executive director.

Environment reporter talks AP with Knight Center students

John Flesher speaks with students over a pizza lunch. Image: Barb Miller.

John Flesher, left, speaks with journalism students at the Knight Center about his career at the Associated Press. Image: Barb Miller.


By Marie Orttenburger
John Flesher has spent almost his entire news career working for the Associated Press.
That’s given him an up-close view of the wire service’s evolution in the past 35 years.
He evolved as well, growing into environmental coverage and providing the AP with Great Lakes news—a coverage area it had not previously explored.
Flesher recently visited Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism to talk with students about his career path.
He began at the AP doing editing and broadcast writing assignments and general reporting at the Raleigh, North Carolina bureau. He covered a range of subjects before settling into a government and politics beat.
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