Issues of Environmental Journalism

Professor: Frank Edward Allen
Institution: N/A
Course Number: 12.A.1

A Seminar Designed for Graduate Students in Journalism and Environmental Studies

This experimental course is intended to help seriously motivated graduate students improve their abilities to understand, evaluate and pursue the craft of environmental journalism. It will be taught seminar-style, with active discussions and interesting guest speakers, supplemented by a few field trips and several challenging outside assignments. Enrollment will be limited. Course content is adapted primarily from the instructor’s reporting and editing experiences during
20 years in American newsrooms, especially as environment editor for The Wall Street Journal and as organizer of that newspaper’s coverage of the Earth Summit in Brazil in 1992. In addition, the course will draw on a large body of knowledge and good will acquired in the summer of 1995 during the UM’s first High Country Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources. That two week, on-the-road workshop was attended by 16 mid-career journalists from throughout the country.

Class sessions and outside assignments will explore and evaluate critically such themes and issues as:

Covering Problems of Air and Water Quality Interpreting and Explaining Issues of Public Health Assessing Pollution in the Workplace

Disputes Over Land-Use Planning and Habitat Protection Covering Industries with Bad Reputations

Describing Human Pressures on Parks, Forests and Wilderness Areas

Deciphering the Politics of Endangered Species

Heirs of Rachel Carson: Understanding Endocrine Disruptors

Examining Problems and Consequences of Overpopulation

Shaping the World’s North-South Debate Over Consumption & Waste

Understanding Issues of Global Climate Change

Translating Big Abstractions: Biodiversity and Sustainable Development

Students will work individually or in small teams to research topics of special interest. Each student will present to the class an oral review of at least one book from the course reading list.  Each student will also give a talk introducing to the class someone from the List of Mysterious People.

The class will gather from informally from time to time to share food and ideas.

The instructor also will host a celebration at his home at the end of the semester.