Dr. Bruno Takahashi and Jack Nissen
Reporting crises, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, presents multiple challenges to journalists, such as the prevalence of misinformation, a faster pace of reporting and the potential threat to their own well-being and those they care about. The latter could result in physical and emotional harm, which could in turn affect their journalistic performance.
Knight Center Research Director Dr. Bruno Takahashi published a new study that examines local news reporting about the Flint water crisis. It applies a framework grounded in environmental justice research and community attachment to determine the ways journalists do their work when they perceive their communities are threatened and discriminated against. The article was co-authored with Ellis Adams, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences at Georgia State University, and Jack Nissen, a digital content creator at WJBK Fox 2 Detroit and graduate of the journalism MA program at Michigan State University.
The article, “The Flint water crisis: local reporting, community attachment, and environmental justice,” appeared in the journal Local Environment and was based on in-depth interviews with reporters in and around Flint. The study found that some reporters struggled to separate their personal experiences from their professional practices, but in general maintained their journalistic integrity in the midst of the crisis. These reporters were empathic toward impacted residents, which made them skeptical of official sources, which motivated further in-depth reporting.
Two Knight Center faculty presented some of their latest research at the recent Conference on Communication and the Environment at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Knight Center director Eric Freedman and University of St. Thomas Professor Mark Neuzil.
In one paper, center director Eric Freedman examined the state of environmental journalism in the Republic of Georgia, where he spent the fall 2018 semester teaching journalism at Caucasus University and conducting research through the Fulbright Program.
Based on interviews with journalists, representatives of environmental and multinational organizations, scientists and other experts, the paper identified major barriers to effective environmental journalism in the country: the environment’s lack of priority among news media owners and politicians; staff shortages at news organizations; journalists’ inadequate substantive knowledge about the environment; and the costs of coverage.
Freedman’s second conference paper examined the National Park Service’s media strategy and techniques after it announced plans to translocate wolves from the U.S. and Canadian mainland to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. His coauthors are Professor Mark Neuzil of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Alexander Killian, a Ph.D. student at Boise State University who earned his master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife at MSU.
Ran Duan presentation
Ran Duan, a Ph.D. graduate of the Knight Center and currently an assistant professor at the University or Reno, Nevada, and research director Bruno Takahashi won a top faculty paper award from the International Communication Association.
The award was presented by the Environmental Communication Division during the association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., in May. The paper titled “How Engaging Are Concrete Images? the Moderating Role of Construal Level in Climate Change Visual Communication” was co-authored with Knight Center’s affiliated faculty member, Assistant Professor Adam Zwickle of the School of Criminal Justice.
Knight Center research director Bruno Takahashi’s edited book News Media Coverage of Environmental Challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean has been selected as the winner of the 2019 Knudson Latin America Prize.
The prize is awarded by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) to a book or project concerning Latin America or coverage of issues in Latin America.
The book was published by Palgrave in September 2018 and was co-edited with Dr. Manuel Chavez, associate professor at MSU and Knight Center affiliated faculty, Dr. Juliet Pinto, associate professor at Pennsylvania State University, and Dr. Mercedes Vigon, associate professor at Florida International University. Continue reading