Category Archives: Classes

Although the lab course numbers remain the same, topics change semester to semester. Check MSU’s schedule of courses for the latest information. The three-credit courses can be taken more than once.
Completion requirements for the graduate 800 level courses are greater than those of the undergraduate 400 level courses.
JRN 472/872 Lab Environmental Reporting
This course gives students hands on experience producing environmental news stories. Class-produced stories meeting professional standards are published on the center’s award-winning Great Lakes Echo non-profit news service. Students have analyzed the ecological footprint of Spartan Stadium and the pollution inputs into the Red Cedar River. They have waded in rivers to examine macroinvertebrates, analyzed and mapped data and explored creative reader engagement techniques such as this one modeled after Jaywalking on the Tonight Show or this one that gives clues to polluted sites. Others include the Great Lakes Smackdown and the popular carp bombs. The course offers a great way to pick up clips and experience. Story types vary by student interest and skill but can encompass text, audio, photography, video and creative reader engagement strategies. Topics vary semester to semester and students can take the course more than once and for variable credit.
In the fall of 2013 the course is called News eye in the clear sky. Students will shoot video from an aerial drone while exploring the exciting opportunities and thorny ethical and legal challenges of new ways of perceiving the environment with satellite imagery, drones and other remote sensing techniques. And they will look at some of the newsworthy aspects of the other civilian applications of such technology.
JRN 473/873 Seminar in environmental journalism
The course focuses on news media reporting of environmental, scientific and health issues. The seminar is mostly guided by the following question: How can journalists deal with scientific uncertainty and the inherent complexities of environmental and health issues? The discussions cover topics such as: journalists’ role conceptions, journalistic norms, environmental discourses in popular culture, use of expert sources, reporters’ beliefs and perceptions, organizational constraints, and the gap between journalistic and scientific cultures, among others. We discuss historical and current issues where science has played a central role in their media reporting. These issues include, among others: energy, smoking, climate change, ozone layer hole, GMOs, hydraulic fracturing, population growth, and natural disasters.
Elsewhere within the School of Journalism
Students are encouraged to explore environmental reporting in the context of other journalism classes such as feature writing, multi-media production, broadcast, Capital News Service and public affairs classes. Instructors of such classes often collaborate with the Knight Center.
Elsewhere at MSU
Both graduate and undergraduate students interested in environmental reporting are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of environmental science and policy by exploring related coursework at MSU. This is required of undergraduates seeking an environmental concentration and of masters students pursuing the environmental option.
Among the Knight Center affiliated programs at MSU are the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment for undergraduates and the university’s Environmental Science and Policy Program for graduate students.


The Fifth Modern Wonder of Peru  

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism recently taught an online environmental journalism to a group of university students in Peru. This is one of the stories produced during that effort. The program was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Lima.

By Alvaro Benavente 

Six hours from Lima, three buses and four hours of walking — depending on your physical performance – is the fifth modern wonder of Peru, Marcahuasi.  

Located near the town of San Pedro de Casta in the province of Huarochirí, Lima, it is one of the highest plateaus in the world (4,100 meters above sea level), with 4 square kilometers of rock formations, spectacular abysses, lagoons, flora, fauna and a sky in which you can see the Milky Way.  

Without a doubt, it’s quite a visual show known among the hikers of Peru.  Continue reading

Dismissed Relics: Real Felipe Fortress  

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism recently taught an online environmental journalism to a group of university students in Peru. This is one of the stories produced during that effort. The program was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Lima.

By Micaela Sotillo  

Peru is a country with monuments of great historical value, and for every street or avenue you walk, there will be something to tell about it.  

The huacas, temples and fortresses are located inside and outside the cities, giving an effect of mysticism to the neighborhoods. 

In the Callao region, known for being the largest seaport since the viceroyalty, there is the Real Felipe Fortress. It is the most fascinating attraction of the port of Callao.  

Built in the 18th century, the Real Felipe defended Lima from pirate attacks, and the strong walls continued to protect the city even after independence in the 19th century. 

This wonderful monument is the pride of many citizens of the region. 

However, a few weeks ago, many citizens registered complaints about the poor condition and maintenance outside the installations. Between plastic bags and organic waste, the foundations are deteriorating, and what seemed like a place admired by many is now a concern for history lovers.  Continue reading

Piles of garbage clutter Villa El Salvador  

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism recently taught an online environmental journalism to a group of university students in Peru. This is one of the stories produced during that effort. The program was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Lima.

By Valeria Romero Espinoza  

The corners of streets and avenues in the district of Villa El Salvador have become a garbage dump that creates an unpleasant landscape for passers-by who pass through these places daily.  

The piles of garbage are an ongoing problem because the system for the collection and transportation of domestic and public waste is deficient and disorganized. 

There is no proper solid waste management by the local government.  

People leave their garbage bags and all types of waste at certain points on public roads, such as sidewalks, parks, avenues and central berms, many of these around markets, hospitals and schools, which leads to the accumulation of large amounts of garbage.  

Garbage bags on Av. Micaela Bastidas.

Neighbors say this problem has several roots.   Continue reading

Journalism students study cross-border environmental problems in Port Huron

Environmental reporting students on the beach at Lakeport State Park

Students in Knight Center director Eric Freedman’s Environmental Reporting class spent a day in Port Huron, Michigan, to explore transborder U.S.-Canadian environmental problems, including the continuing cleanup of a toxic hot spot and the threat of invasive species.

Such problems – along with extreme weather events, air and water pollution, climate warming, wildfires and the like – pay no attention to national borders or political jurisdictions.

The St. Clair River separates Port Huron from Sarnia, Ontario. Both cities are on Lake Huron.

Learning about native plants along the Blue Water River Walk

The recent field visit, supported by a grant from MSU’s Canadian Studies Center, began with a 1-mile hike along the Blue Water River Walk led by Shari Faust and Lynnea McFadden of the Friends of the St. Clair River.

Running for about 40 miles, the river connects Lake Huron with Lake St. Clair. Continue reading