Category Archives: Research

        
 
 
 
 

New endangered species book from Knight Center director

Knight Center director Eric Freedman is the lead editor of Communicating Endangered Species: Extinction, News, and Public Policy, a new multidisciplinary environmental communication book that takes a distinctive approach by connecting how media and culture depict and explain endangered species with how policymakers and natural resource managers can or do respond to these challenges in practical terms.

The coeditors are professors Sara Shipley Hiles of the University of Missouri and David B. Sachsman of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

The book is available in hardcover and as an e-book.

It’s dedicated to environmental journalists around the world whose efforts continue to bring the extinction and biodiversity crisis to the attention of the public and policy makers and is published by Routledge as part of its Studies in Environmental Communication and Media series.

MSU undergraduates Logan Bry and Alexandra Swanson assisted with proofreading the manuscript. Former MSU master’s student Alexander Killion, now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability, is the lead author of a chapter on the reintroduction of wolves to Isle Royale National Park.

Extinction isn’t new. However, the pace of extinction is accelerating globally. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies more than 26,000 species as threatened. The causes are many, including climate change, overdevelopment, human exploitation, disease, overhunting, habitat destruction, and predators. The willingness and the ability of ordinary people, governments, scientists, nongovernmental organizations, and businesses to slow this deeply disturbing acceleration are uncertain. Meanwhile, researchers around the world are laboring to better understand and communicate the possibility and implications of extinctions and to discover effective tools and public policies to combat the threats to species survival. This book presents a history of news coverage of endangered species around the world, examining how and why journalists and other communicators wrote what they did, how attitudes have changed, and why they have changed. It draws on the latest research by chapter authors who are a mix of social scientists, communication experts, and natural scientists. Each chapter includes a mass media and/or cultural aspect.

This book will be essential reading for students, natural resource managers, government officials, environmental activists, and academics interested in conservation and biodiversity, environmental communication and journalism, and public policy.

 

 

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.

Awards, scholarships recognize outstanding environmental journalism students

Students in our environmental journalism classes and working for the Knight Center and Great Lakes Echo garnered top recognition at the School of Journalism’s 2021 Awards Ceremony. Congratulations to all.

Don Caldwell Memorial Scholarship in Environmental Journalism

  •  Weiting Du, Taylor Haelterman and Chioma Lewis

Len Barnes AAA Michigan Fund Award

  • Jonus Cottrell, Taylor Haelterman and Indri Maulidar

Rachel Carson Award for Outstanding Graduate Student in Environmental Journalism

  • Chioma Lewis

Mickie L. Edwardson Endowed Scholarship

  • Apoorva Joshi and Marie Orttenburger

Michael A. and Sandra S. Clark Scholarship

  • Claire Moore and Leigh Anne Tiffany

Edward J. Meeman Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Environmental Journalism

  • Lillian Young

Knight Center Service Award

  • Taylor Haelterman

      Chioma Lewis

      Jonus Cottrell

      Weiting Du

      Taylor Haelterman

      Apoorva Joshi

      Indri Maulidar

      Claire Moore

      Marie Orttenburger

      Leigh Anne Tiffany

      Lillian Young