Category Archives: Writing

Knight Center director in podcast on climate change in Central Asia

A fishing ship abandoned as the Aral Sea shrank near Nukus, Uzbekistan. It’s part of what has been nicknamed a “ghost fleet.” Credit: Eric Freedman

Knight Chair Eric Freedman was a panelist on a podcast about climate change and environmental challenges in the former Soviet republics on Central Asia.

The Majlis podcast from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty examined the signs of climate change in the region and how the governments there are responding. Those signs include melting glaciers, extreme weather and habitat destruction.

The other panelists were Bakytgul Chynybaeva of RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz bureau, who was reporting on the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference from Glasgow; independent journalist and environmental researcher Ryskeldi Satke; and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog. RFE/RL media-relations manager Muhammad Tahir moderated the discussion.

 

Vivid evidence of desertification of most of the Aral Sea that spans the Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan border. Once a vital fishing resource, the Aral largely disappeared when the rivers that fed it were diverted for irrigation to grow cotton and other crops. Credit: Eric Freedman

Freedman is a former Fulbright Scholar in Uzbekistan who has been a guest speaker and researcher in three other Central Asian countries: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. His books include Environmental Crises in Central Asia: From Steppes To Seas, From Deserts To Glaciers (Routledge).

The MSU School of Journalism is now collaborating on a capacity-building project with the Journalism & Mass Communication University in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The project includes assistance in developing curricula on environmental, health and risk reporting and training for Uzbek faculty members and professional journalists.

A Kazakh villager carries a bucket of water from a well in a desert that once formed the bed of the Aral Sea. Credit: RFE/RL

Ph.D. funded opportunity in inclusive science communication project

The Knight Center invites applications for a Ph.D. position in the NSF-funded project Intercultural Science Communication Research and Training to Broaden Participation Among Historically Minoritized Science Practitioners. BIPOC are strongly encouraged to apply.

The project, in collaboration with the University of Rhode Island’s Metcalf Institute, will address the lack of BIPOC representation in science communication training spaces and among trainers using an intercultural communication perspective. The project will include the development and testing of a new science communication training, the Science Communication Research Fellowship (SCARF). We are looking to fund a student interested in inclusive science communication beginning August 2022.

The successful applicant would have to apply to the Information & Media doctoral program in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. The application deadline is December 1st, 2021.

The position is suited for students from historically minoritized groups, have recently completed or near completing an MA in Journalism/Communication or related fields (media studies, environmental studies, sociology), with experience of working with relevant methods, and with relevant professional and/or personal experience. The ideal candidate would have some professional journalism or communication experience, including basic writing, reporting, multimedia skills, strategic communication, and /or public relations.

Required Qualifications:

  1. Education: M.A. in Journalism/Communication or related fields
  2. Basic knowledge of qualitative and/or quantitative communication research methods, including interviews, surveys and/or content analysis
  3. Excellent written, editing, and verbal communication skills
  4. Relevant experience working with historically marginalized populations

For more information, please contact Dr. Bruno Takahashi at btakahas@msu.edu

Bruno Takahashi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Research Director
Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
College of Communication Arts and Sciences
Michigan State University

Environmental journalism student finishes Detroit Public TV internship

By Rachel Duckett

Rachel Duckett

This summer, I worked as an intern at Great Lakes Now, an environmental journalism initiative through PBS and Detroit Public Television covering news around the Great Lakes.

I’m a senior at MSU, and until this internship I didn’t know that environmental journalism was an option for me. Now, I feel like I have a better sense of where I want to go with my degree and a bit more experience to help me get there.

It was really rewarding covering environmental news, I got the opportunity to talk to scientists, as well as people in my community for stories that I felt proud of.

I also got to pitch my own story ideas, like this article I wrote about lighthouses.

I got to practice everything I’d learned in my classes so far and I can’t wait to learn more in my environmental journalism courses this year.

The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism underwrote Druckett’s internship.

My environmental journalism internship experience has been nothing but eye-opening for me. I can’t say enough good things about it.

Prior to my internship, I wasn’t too interested in the environment and wasn’t sure what stories needed to be told. It only took a little under a week for me to understand the severity of how many stories were craving to be published. I was never extensively searching for a story pitch because there was always something happening.

But then I began to understand that most of the general public was, like myself prior to my internship; uninterested in the environment. Which broke my heart because without a healthy environment, we would cease to exist. While also considering the amount of environmental journalists compared to regular journalists, my mind was blown. I knew I was playing a very important role in society by sharing stories that weren’t being told.

My biggest skill that I’ve learned is that there’s always more than what meets the eye. This can be interpreted a lot of ways, including types of stories being shared, what’s happening in the world or even what someone is saying. It’s our job to dive deeper and provide context to any situation. This is true for all types of journalism.

I’ve had my fair share of stories, but there’s a few favorites that definitely stick out to me. These include

https://www.wkar.org/environment/2021-06-22/msu-dedicates-new-space-on-campus-to-the-research-and-protection-of-pollinators

If there’s ever an opportunity to become an environmental journalist, I highly recommend taking the opportunity and running with it. My experience has been absolutely incredible.