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MSU students eligible for tuition help

Michigan State University journalism or digital storytelling students who contribute to diversity are eligible for a roughly $1,800 fall scholarship to take an environmental journalism class that can count toward graduation requirements.

Environmental expertise or experience is not required.

Eligible students are those majoring in journalism or digital storytelling, contribute to diversity and are enrolled in the fall of 2024. Diverse newsrooms report on environmental stories that otherwise may be missed – stories like those relevant to racial justice, civil rights, the values of Indigenous people or those involving underrepresented groups.

Students could contribute to diversity through their racial, ethnic or cultural identity or through their lived experience.  You do not need to be a hunter, camper, ecologist to activist. Environmental issues also encompass urban issues, health issues and social issues like civil rights. The environment is the world’s most important beat – one that cuts across all issues.

The scholarship is for taking JRN 472, Environmental, Science and Health Reporting.  For questions, contact Knight Center Senior Associate Director David Poulson,

To apply:

Before 5 p.m. Sunday, March 17 , 2024, send a message with the subject line “EJ Scholarships” to MSU Knight Center Senior Associate Director David Poulson,

NOT in the body of the email, but as attachments submit:

  • no more than 300 words on how your identity, background, lived experience or other characteristics help you diversify environmental reporting.
  • a resume
  • copies of or links to up to three stories you’ve produced for publication or class.

Knight Center student reports from Iceland on sustainable cruises

Cassidy Hough

Is there such a thing as a sustainable cruise vacation?

MSU Knight Center graduate Cassidy Hough recentl produced a video about environmentally responsible cruise ships as part of a reporting trip she won to Iceland.

The contest is sponsored by Planet Forward, an environmental media non-profit organization operated by George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

Hough won first place in the “Best Use of Science or Data” category of the competition with a report on perennial grains when she hosted the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism’s Food Fix podcast.

Continue reading

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

SciComm Identities Project (SCIP) Workshop Kicks Off at Michigan State University 

Michigan State University has become the hub of an exciting initiative as the SciComm Identities Project (SCIP) workshop on science communication begins today and runs until the end of the week. A group of 10 SCIP fellows have embarked on a transformative journey, aiming to deepen their understanding of podcasting, gain expertise in media relations, and apply this knowledge to their academic endeavors

The participants of the workshop spent the day engrossed in a variety of activities designed to enhance their skills. They delved into the realm of storytelling tools, refining their creative writing abilities and engaging in stimulating discussions on applying effective media strategies to effectively communicate their research.


This workshop serves as a vital component of a comprehensive five-year project initiated by the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island, the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University, and the URI Science and Story Lab. The overarching objective of this project is to cultivate the next generation of science communicators, particularly individuals from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, who will play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between science and society. More information about the SCIP project can be found at their official website:

With the SCIP workshop now underway, the fellows are set to acquire invaluable skills and knowledge that will empower them to effectively communicate scientific concepts and research findings to a wider audience. This initiative is a testament to the commitment of Michigan State University and its partner institutions in fostering a more inclusive and diverse science communication landscape.