Category Archives: Eric Freedman

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

Knight Center director’s JFK book released as audiobook

Audible has just released an audio version of John F. Kennedy in His Own Words edited by Knight Center director Eric Freedman and Edward Hoffman, an adjunct associate professor at Yeshiva University. Actor Stephen Molloy of Pennsylvania is the narrator.

One section deals with Kennedy’s views on environmental issues. As the introduction to that section notes, JFK had a recreational interest in the outdoors, favored protection of public lands from overuse and warned about urban and suburban sprawl. The ocean exerted a near-mystical hold on him, perhaps because of his family home on Cape Cod, his love of boating and his South Pacific naval exploits during World War II.

Like many members of his generation, Kennedy was allured by the power of science and the promise of exploration, believing those twin engines of the human mind and spirit could solve societal problems without environmental damage. Overall, however, his legislative initiatives reflected a policy that environmental interests shouldn’t trump agricultural needs and economic development, and that natural resources such as energy and water should be exploitable.

We see those sometimes complementing, sometimes conflicting, views in a speech he made in Hanford, Washington, in September 1963:

There are two points on conservation that have come home to me in the last two days. One is the necessity for us to protect what we already have, what nature gave to us, and use it well, not to waste water or land, to set aside land and water, recreation, wilderness and all the rest now so that it will be available to those who come in the future. That is the traditional concept of conservation, and it still has a major part in the life of the United States.

But the other part of conservation is the newer part, and that is to use science and technology to achieve significant breakthroughs as we are doing today, and in that way to conserve the resources which ten or twenty or thirty years ago may have been totally unknown. So we use nuclear power for peaceful purposes and power. We use new techniques to develop new kinds of coal and oil from shale, and all the rest. We use new techniques … in oceanography, so from the bottom of the ocean and the ocean we get all the resources which are there, and which are going to be mined and harvested. And from the sun we are going to find more and more uses for that energy whose power we are so conscious of today.

Other sections of John F. Kennedy in His Own Words present his thoughts on the economy, the arts, international affairs, politics, immigration, human rights, labor and other issues.

The audiobook is available for $19.95 from Audible. The book, originally published in 2005 by Kensington Publishing, is also available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon.

New study published on Isle Royale wolf relocations

The well-publicized relocation of wolves from the mainland U.S. and Canada to Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior has been taking place without journalists on site.

Female wolf released on Isle Royale. Photo Credit: National Park Service

A newly published study coauthored by Knight Center director Eric Freedman found that coverage in the news media relied heavily on U.S. government sources, with little attention to the views and input from other sources, such as independent experts, Native American and First Nations representatives, park visitors or nearby mainland businesses.

The other authors are University of Michigan doctoral student Alexander Killion and Professor Mark Neuzil, the chair of the Department of Emerging Media at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

“The Effects of Access Restrictions and Communication Strategies for Divisive Environmental Management” examined the strategies and techniques used by the National Park Service and other agencies to keep the press informed. It also looked at how news outlets covered the controversial relocations that began in fall 2018.

The Park Service cited concerns about the health and safety of the wolves and of personnel as the reason to preclude access for journalists. The agency, however, provided the press with a stream of news releases, photos and videos.

The relocations were designed to rebuild the population of gray wolves on Isle Royale at a time when only two wolves were left on the island. Scientists and natural resource managers said it was necessary to rebuilding the wolf population as an effective way to control the number of moose on the island.

The study appeared in the journal Environmental Science and Policy.

EJ students looking at relationships among environment, culture and traditions in Great Lakes region

 

By Eric Freedman

Coverage of the environment in the Great Lakes region involves a lot of reporting on nasty stuff—hazardous waste, invasive species, climate change, air pollution and so on. It involves reporting on good stuff—forests, wildlife, waterways, public lands, outdoor recreation, eco-tourism and the like. It involves covering science and social science studies, legislation, public policy and litigation.

At the Knight Center, we’ve also been pushing our students to report more on the relationships among environment, culture and traditions in the Great Lakes region.

Readers of Great Lakes Echo, our award-winning environmental news service, have always responded well to our stories about shipwrecks and lighthouses, both of them environmental icons of the Great Lakes.

But we’ve also been pushing environmental journalism students – those in our classes and those we hire to work at the Knight Center – to pay more attention to other cultural aspects of the region – the humanities and arts of the region. Continue reading

Environmental issues ahead for Southeast Michigan

Eric Freedman

Regardless of which presidential candidate takes the oath of office next Jan. 20 and regardless of which party controls Congress for the next two years, the federal government has serious environmental issues to address in Southeast Michigan.

To examine some of those issues for Crain’s Detroit Business, Knight Center director Eric Freedman interviewed the Canadian Consul General in Detroit, the presidents of the Michigan Manufacturers Association and Michigan Environmental Council, the director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

Here’s his story.