Category Archives: Students

 
Journalism and non-journalism students at Michigan State University explore how to better report environmental issues to the public at the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.
 

Environmental journalism courses can help students meet the School of Journalism’s elective requirements. They can also be used as part of an environmental theme to complete the school’s concentration requirement by combining them with environment-related courses outside the journalism program. See your academic adviser or contact the Knight Center.
 
Non-journalism students interested in environmental issues are encouraged to contact instructors to discuss waiver of pre-requisites. Often a journalism environmental course may meet communication course requirements of other departments.
 

 
Undergraduates are also encouraged to join the student Environmental Journalism Association and write for Great Lakes Echo to gain resume-building experience and clips.
 
Undergraduate students are eligible for several awards and scholarships in environmental journalism.
 
They are encouraged to augment their study with environment classes and programs elsewhere at MSU such as the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment.
 
 

Knight Center alum accepts position at Alma College

Tony Van Witsen

Former Knight Center doctoral researcher Tony Van Witsen will begin teaching next week as a full time visiting faculty member at Alma College, a small liberal arts school in Alma, Michigan. He will be teaching two undergraduate courses, Research Methods and Relational Communication, which will mostly encompass the relationship between science and policy. Tony entered the I & M program in August of 2014 and successfully defended his dissertation this past May. His research examines news coverage of environmental controversies and complex scientific issues, particularly the ways journalists make sense of statistics.

Knight Center’s Ph.D. researcher wins paper awards at 2020 AEJMC Conference

Leigh Anne Tiffany

Knight Center researcher, Leigh Anne Tiffany, received two paper awards at the 2020 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Conference this August.

Tiffany, a second-year Ph.D. student in Michigan State University’s Information and Media program, received the Top Theory Paper Award and second-place Top Student Paper Award from the Communication Theory and Methodology Division.

Her award-winning paper, titled “The Journalism-Public Relations Role Continuum,” proposes three new theoretical models for addressing the relationship between journalists and public relations practitioners, specifically how to delineate these closely connected professions. The desired outcome of this theoretical paper is to increase interdisciplinary research between journalism and public relations scholarship, as well as provide guidance for ways to better clarify these fields in future research.

Online workshop teaches MSU researchers to explain what they do

Scientists at a Knight Center workshop in Rwanda learn to communicate their research. Image: David Poulson

By David Poulson

Ever wish the public better understood the science and research you produce?

Both are far too important to confine to researchers and academics. Building a public constituency for them is key to making good decisions and policy. It is also important for advancing your career.

MSU’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism offers a free online workshop this summer to teach MSU students and faculty to engage public audiences with science and other research.

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Knight Center’s Cepak, Van Witsen, earn doctorates

Two doctoral students affiliated with the Knight Center earned their Ph.Ds. at the end of the spring semester.

Tony Cepak and Tony Van Witsen successfully defended their dissertations on topics related to environmental and science journalism.

Tony Cepak

Cepak’s dissertation used oral history, archival and ethnographic fieldwork to explore the long- term picture-making projects of Jack Corn and Milton Rogovin in Appalachian coal fields during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Corn, a photojournalist, and Rogovin, a social documentary photographer, both worked to disrupt popular discourse and advance mining photography past the stoic, soot-covered aesthetics of the early 20th century.

His dissertation, “Views of the Valley of Despair: The Photography of Jack Corn and Milton Rogovin in Appalachian Coal Communities (1956-1979),” examines the intimate and powerful imagery they created that repositions coal mining from being celebrated as a material vital to economic and social prosperity, to illuminating the exploitive and devastating effects mining had on miners, their families, their communities and the land.

Tony Van Witsen

Van Witsen’s dissertation, “How Daily Journalists Verify Numbers and Statistics in News Stories: Towards a Theory,” recognizes that statistics are widely acknowledged as an essential part of journalism but acknowledges that routine news coverage involving statistics leaves much to be desired.

He examined the verification process in detail by combining 1) qualitative interviews with 15 working journalists about their attitudes, decision-making and work practices regarding statistics; 2) a content analysis of statistical information in a sample of stories created by these journalists; and 3) an item-by-item examination of the decision-making processes behind each statistic in each sampled stories.

Appalachian miner and wife. Milton Rogovin, 1962–1987

With a framed portrait of John F. Kennedy at his side, Ed Marlowe, paralyzed from a roof fall in a coal mine, gazes out his window to see who is approaching the house.
Jack Corn, 1969