Category Archives: Alumni


Knight Center grad recognized as young environmental leader

Haley Walker

Haley Walker

Knight Center alum Haley Walker recently joined the  Oregon Environmental Council‘s Emerging Leaders Board.

The council’s advisory board of “entrepreneurs, strategist, community leaders and visionaries under the age of 40 have agreed to share their extraordinary skills to support the mission of Oregon Environmental Council.”

Walker, who graduated from the Knight Center in December of 2010, is the senior communications director with The Freshwater Trust, the oldest wild fish conservation group in the Pacific Northwest.

While at MSU she wrote for the Knight Center’s award-winning EJ Magazine and was an early reporter for the center’s Great Lakes Echo environmental news service. The stories she covered for those publications were as diverse as climate change in national parks and gardens maintained by prison inmates and confessing to spending half her income on organic food.

As a student she was part of an award-winning team recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists for a series of stories about water quality problems at public pools. The Knight Center awarded her the Edward J. Meeman Service Award in 2010.

Public radio summer internship opportunity

interlochenlogoInterlochen Public Radio is seeking an environmental news intern for the summer. This paid position is funded by the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and is open to students or recent graduates associated with Michigan State University. The internship will run at least three months, beginning in May and continuing into August, according to the intern’s availability. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2018

This is an extraordinary opportunity for any aspiring journalist interested in public media and the environment. The intern will learn to probe people for detailed information, connect ideas and facts into a larger context and tell stories that help people understand the natural world. In addition to working with the staff at IPR, you will participate in a weeklong workshop run by, a national leader in radio storytelling.

Major responsibilities will include the following:

  • Research issues and story ideas, possibly for credit, during the spring semester.
  • Produce environmental news stories for public radio.
  • Produce related digital content.
  • Share stories with the Knight Center’s online environmental news service, Great Lakes Echo.
  • Help manage IPR News Radio’s daily broadcast.

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Knight Center affiliate explores Rachel Carson’s impact on popular culture of environmentalism

Perry Parks

Perry Parks

During his studies in journalism and science communication, Perry Parks, a Knight Center affiliate and doctoral candidate in the School of Journalism, noticed recurring references to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in academic literature, environmental reporting texts and popular mass media. Parks was intrigued both that the 1962 book on pesticides was still so prominent in the culture and that nearly every reference credited Silent Spring in some way with launching the modern environmental movement.

Parks decided to investigate Silent Spring’s role in environmentalism and the causes of its staying power. So he read previous research on the book and conducted a historical and cultural analysis of every reference to the term “silent spring” in the New York Times and the Washington Post over 50 years. That turned out to be more than 1,000 news stories, editorials, letters to the editor, calendar listings and other items. Continue reading

Alums snare top prize for film on endangered sea turtles

By Steven Maier
Michigan State alums and sibling filmmakers Laura and Rob Sams have won Best Engaging Youth Film at the Jackson Hole Film Festival for the second time in their careers
Their short children’s film, “My Haggan Dream,” follows a girl as she learns about the life cycle of the endangered sea turtles of Saipan, the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands in the West Pacific.

My Hagan Dream

My Hagan Dream

“I think we were a bit surprised we won this year because we were up against some really good films,” Laura said.
Laura was there at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming that night to receive the award. She announced the victory with a text to her brother, who had stayed at home in Portland, Oregon, to care for his wife, who would give birth to their second son the next day.
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