Category Archives: Eric Freedman

Eric Freedman is the director of Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism

Lessons from the brink

Eric Freedman

By Eric Freedman

Director, Knight Center for Environmental Journalism

There’s nothing like almost dying to wake you up to the multiple realities of America’s health care system.

I nearly died in April from a still-unidentified collapse and its complications, including pneumonia, blackouts, heavy bleeding, liver damage and ICU delirium during seven weeks at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital, four of them on a ventilator.

I have no memory of my first five weeks there.

When it first happened, my children and grandchildren arrived from four states, although I don’t remember their visit or their encouraging words.

For me, the experience highlighted the fragility of life and our vulnerability to sometimes-inexplicable health crises, regardless of how well we’ve taken care of ourselves: eaten – mostly – right, exercised and had regular medical exams and tests.

Beyond that, however, came deeper insights about inequities in the American medical system, starting with access to and the high cost of care.

Medical expenses can push patients and their families without good health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or VA benefits into a devastating choice between bankruptcy on one hand and foregoing lifesaving treatment on the other hand.

Talk about sticker shock. The retail price – the bottom line – for two days at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital, where my arduous medical journey began in the emergency department: $87,748. The ambulance transfer while I was comatose and in critical condition from Sparrow to Henry Ford Hospital’s ICU: $13,520. Continue reading

Eric Freedman lecture to students at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University: six challenges faced by environmental journalists today

Knight Center director Eric Freedman recently guest lectured to students at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Eric Freedman pictured with students at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Eric Freedman pictured with students at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.

In his lecture, Freedman discussed the important role of environmental journalism in public life. He discussed how the stories environmental journalists produce often have a direct influence on government policy and public health. Environmental journalists are often required to communicate complex topics in a way that is easy to understand for general audiences, making them essential for the public’s understanding of environmental issues.

Despite its critical importance, environmental journalism faces many challenges. Speaking with students at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University via Zoom, Freedman outlined six major challenges faced by those working in field.

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Knight Center collaboration with University of Rhode Island seeks to bring more diverse voices to science communication

Dr. Bruno Takahashi, research lead for the SciComm Identities Project. Photo by Phoebe Neel

A recent partnership between Michigan State’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, the University of Rhode Island’s Metcalf Institute, and URI’s Science and Story Lab aims to expand diversity and create more inclusive spaces for the next generation of science communicators.

The SciComm Identities Project (SCIP) is a five-year project backed by $2.8 million in grant funding from the National Science Foundation. The project aims to promote racial and ethnic diversity within the field by developing science communication training that is centered on the identities, motivations, and experiences of racial and ethnic minority scientists.

While progress has been made to bring more voices into the field, historically marginalized scientists still face obstacles throughout their careers.

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Knight Center director: Mass shooting coverage shows crucial role of student journalists

Capital News Service director Eric Freedman.

Capital News Service

LANSING – When the horrendous shooting occurred on the Michigan State University campus, student journalists rushed in to cover the tragedy, its impact on the university and community, the investigation and university security. Continue reading