Category Archives: Workshops

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism organizes workshops to help journalists better report on the environment in the U.S. and abroad. Information about recent and upcoming conferences is posted here.

Knight Center director visits Uzbekistan

Health reporting workshop

During a two-week visit to Uzbekistan, Knight Center director Eric Freedman lectured at two universities, spoke about how to report on health issues and health research at a workshop for professional journalists and met with leaders of media development and environmental organizations.

The trip was part of a U.S. State Department-funded, capacity-building project that partners the MSU School of Journalism’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism with the Journalism & Mass Communications University of Uzbekistan in Tashkent, the country’s capital. Three JMCU representatives visited MSU earlier in the fall.

With university Rector Sherzodkhon Kudrathodja

Freedman met with JMCU administrators and instructors, participated in a master’s-level health, science and environmental reporting course and facilitated workshops for faculty, graduate students and working media professionals.

In addition, he lectured to faculty and graduate students at the Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers on how scientists can more effectively explain their research to the public. He also visited Akfa University, the country’s first private university.

Meeting with doctoral students

His activities included meetings with the NGO Modern Journalism Development Center, the NGO Internews which supports independent media, the State Environmental Committee, the NGO Green Central Asia and Cultural Affairs and Public Affairs officers at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, which provided the grant. He gave interviews to several news channels, including the environmental nonprofit Ekolog.uz.

Institute of the Sun research facility

He joined graduate students on a field visit to the Centre of Hydro Meteorological Service, which conducts testing for temperature, precipitation and air and soil pollution quality and monitors climate change. He accompanied several faculty members to tour the Institute of Physics and Technology (Institute of the Sun) and the Sukok Reserve, an undeveloped national park area. The institute was a top-secret research facility during Soviet times, calls itself the “world’s largest solar oven” and now develops new materials for industrial, agricultural and scientific uses.

At Sukov Reserve

Freedman’s visit included an “it’s-a-small-world” moment when he and Dilnora Azimova, the project’s JMCU consultant and an MSU alum, attended a “Shubert by Candlelight” piano concert at the State Conservatory. They didn’t know that two other MSU alumni would be at the concert: the internally acclaimed pianist and music producer Sergei Kvitko, who lives in Lansing, and nuclear physicist Alisher Sanetullaev, a university professor in Tashkent. He and Azimova had never met either of them and were unaware of Kvitko’s MSU connection before the concert.

Uzbek journalism educators visit Knight Center, J-School

Meeting with Journalism School director Tim Vos

 

For the past two weeks, the J-School hosted representatives from the Journalism & Mass Communications University of Uzbekistan as part of a capacity-building environmental and health reporting project funded by the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan.

Knight Center director Eric Freedman developed the project and secured the grant.

At the State News

Nozima Muratova, who led the delegation, is the vice rector for research and innovation at the 4-year-old university in Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent. Mukarram Otamurodova is a Ph.D. student who teaches an environmental, health and science course. Dilnora Azimova, who earned her master’s degree in MSU’s Health and Risk Communication Program, is a project consultant.

With journalism librarian Kathleen Weessies

 

They gave guest lectures in environmental reporting and health & risk communication classes, met with Michigan environmental and health communicators and reporters, and led a brown bag discussion of Uzbekistan’s media landscape for the MSU Center for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies.

Meeting with Steve Hanson, Associate provost and Dean of International Studies & Programs

They also visited the Detroit News, Crain Communications, Detroit Public TV and the State News and met with MSU’s dean of International Studies & Programs.

In addition, they toured three environmentally significant sites: MSU’s Horticultural Gardens, Saugatuck State Park and the Granger landfill in Lansing.

Freedman is scheduled to visit their university later this month under the State Department grant.

 

 

Fate of the Earth loses friend of the Earth

Barbara Sawyer-Koch

By David Poulson

One of the delights of Michigan State University’s Fate of the Earth conference is the dinner for organizers and speakers the night before.

I always angled to get a seat next to Barbara Sawyer-Koch, a former MSU trustee, who with her late husband Donald Koch, an MSU philosophy professor, endowed this annual conference on sustainability.

It was their support that allowed MSU’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism to help bring top-flight environmental journalists to speak at the event and later meet with our students.

Barb, who died March 6, was an excellent dinner companion. Her interests were far ranging – music, travel, sustainability, international students and a deep love for MSU. They intersected – she spoke knowledgeably about the impact of climate change that she noticed in her travels. And while we did not know each other well, she thoughtfully remembered to accommodate my hearing deficit during those noisy dinners. Continue reading

Knight Center director trains Uzbek journalists

Knight Center director Eric Freedman led a recent workshop via Zoom for about 20 Uzbek journalists on how American media cover business and economic news in the U.S., including reporting on economic aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As contrasting examples, Freedman used a recent Lansing (Michigan) State Journal article titled “Lansing area gym opens despite state order; others struggle to stay afloat” and a recent New York Times article called “Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine.”

Journalists at a workshop on business reporting in Uzbekistan

The workshop, part of a three-day training on business reporting, took place in Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, under the sponsorship of the Voice of America’s Uzbek Service.

Trainers and experts from the United States and Europe engaged the participants in online sessions focused on information-gathering, news analysis, interviewing techniques, ethics and best practices, and digital media/infographics. Insightful discussions ensued on how journalists should pitch stories, brainstorm in their newsrooms and correct their content after it airs and/or is published.

Freedman taught journalism as a Fulbright Scholar in Uzbekistan in 2002.

Navbahor Imamova of Voice America Uzbek Service

VOA anchor Navbahor Imamova, who is based in Washington, moderated the session. She has been a guest speaker to Freedman’s international journalism classes, talking about how foreign correspondents work in the U.S.