Category Archives: Writing

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.

Knight Center research director Bruno Takahashi publishes about Emergency Communications Policies in Puerto Rico

Bruno Takahashi

Knight Center research director Bruno Takahashi has published the article Emergency Communications Policies in Puerto Rico: Interaction between regulatory institutions and telecommunications companies during Hurricane Maria in the journal Telecommunications Policy. The study was led by Luis Rosario-Albert, a professor of communication at the Universidad Ana G. Méndez in Puerto Rico.

The study examined the view of telecommunications carriers’ representatives on the adequacy of emergency communications policies during Hurricane Maria in 2017 in Puerto Rico. The article also presents a policy analysis to assess the Federal Communications Commission, the Telecommunications Bureau of Puerto Rico and telecommunications companies’ emergency communications processes and outcomes. It points to ineffective government emergency communications policies due to the impact of external factors and the lack of coordination of the Puerto Rico’s electrical power provider and private telecommunications companies.

The study is part of the project Infrastructure collapse and its effects on news practices during Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, led by Takahashi and funded by the National Science Foundation.

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