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We lose when the public space becomes a battlespace

David Poulson

By David Poulson

The guard burst from the presidential gatehouse with his gun drawn.

“Stop that,” he yelled as he pointed his weapon at me.

Stunned, I slowly lowered my phone to the ground. I was dressed for an early morning run in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi in Africa. As I often do when working out-of-town, I had combined my morning run with a little sightseeing.

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Knight Center students provide real news now

Members of Capital News Service picked up this story through a network of relationships established by the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. Image: Barbara Miller

By David Poulson

The journey of a recent story with roots in Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism shows how journalism schools play important news roles.

Nowadays. students, alumni and university-based news networks aren’t only about education. They play a direct role in the rise of public service, nonprofit news reporting.  There are stories — like the one I’m about to tell you — that wouldn’t be reported or have the same impact without these university connections. Continue reading

Going wide is going deep in journalism, academia, science, life

David Poulson

By David Poulson

It’s a strange quirk of the news business that the most demanding job often goes to the least experienced reporter.

General assignment reporting often is what entry-level reporters endure until they land a beat, one allowing them to deeply learn a subject.

Those on general assignment lack the luxury of specialization. You have to be ready for anything. And what you don’t know, you learn.


I well remember my first few weeks on general assignment.  Continue reading