SEJ Board & Staff

Board of Directors 2017-18

Bobby Magill, President
Susan Moran, First Vice Pres. & Programs Chair
Nancy Gaarder, Second Vice Pres. & Membership Co-Chair
Christy George, Treasurer & Finance Chair
Dennis Dimick, Secretary
Jeff Burnside
Gloria Dickie
Scott Dodd
Breanna Draxler
Judy Fahys
Lyndsey Gilpin
Gloria Gonzalez
Roger Witherspoon
David Poulson, Rep. for Academic Membership
Meaghan Parker, Rep. for Associate Membership and Membership Co-Chair

 

Ex Officio Board Member

Jim Detjen, Founding President
 

SEJ staff chills after the 2014 Annual Conference in New Orleans. L-R (back): Dale Willman, Jay Letto, Randi Ross, Cindy MacDonald; (front): Beth Parke, Chris Bruggers. Click to enlarge photo.
                         Photo credit: Edward Schultz

SEJ Staff

Melisa Klem, Executive Director
Beth Parke, Executive Director, 1993-2016
Christine Bruggers, Associate Director and Director of Awards; SEJournal Production and Design Editor
Lisa Cosgriff, Records Manager
 

SEJ Project Consultants

Joseph A. Davis, TipSheet and FOI WatchDog Director and  Editor; Member, SEJ FOI Task Force
Adam Glenn, SEJournal Online Editor
Jay Letto, Director of Annual Conferences
Cindy MacDonald, Web Content Manager
Dale Willman, Programs Associate
Kevin Beaty, Conference Associate

 

Advisory Board
Editorial Advisory Board
Endowment Committee

SEJ board service FAQ's 
— the whats and whys of serving on the SEJ board


Board of Directors 2017-18

President
Bobby Magill is a freelance journalist based in New York City. Until August 2017, he was the senior science writer covering energy and climate change at Climate Central. Previously, Bobby covered Western energy and environmental issues as a freelance writer for Popular Mechanics and as a reporter for the Coloradoan newspaper in Fort Collins, Colorado, and the Daily Sentinel newspaper in Grand Junction, Colorado. His work has also appeared in Climate Liability News, Scientific American, The Guardian, Grist, Salon, USA Today and other publications. Find him on Twitter @bobbymagill or online at bobbymagill.com. Board member since 2015. Current term: 2015 - 2018. Contact Bobby, 970-430-6250.

First Vice President and Programs Chair
Susan Moran is an independent print journalist, covering science, the environment, health and agriculture, for Popular Science, Discover, The New York Times, The Economist, and other publications. She also co-hosts a weekly science show, “How On Earth," on KGNU community radio in Colorado. She is also on member of Flux, which launched an independent reporting project called Bracing For Impact on Beacon Reader, covering climate change resilience and adaptation. Susan has been a journalist for nearly three decades, initially on staff at Reuters (Tokyo, New York, Silicon Valley), Business 2.0 magazine and other news organizations. She taught journalism for seven years as an adjunct instructor at the University of Colorado. Susan has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and a master’s degree in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley. She was awarded the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT in 2009-10, and the Ted Scripps Environmental Journalism Fellowship at the University of Colorado in 2001-02. Beyond journalism, Susan enjoys hiking, tennis, dancing, singing in a choir for people at the threshold, etc.  Board member since 2014. Current term: 2014 - 2017. Contact Susan.

Second Vice President and Membership Co-Chair
Nancy Gaarder is a weather and social services reporter at the Omaha World-Herald. She has been a reporter and/or editor for the World-Herald since 1995. Previously Nancy was reporter and editor for the St. Joseph, Mo., News-Press/Gazette, ~1982-1995. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Nancy was a community development Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, Africa in the early 1980s. She is the author of "Nebraska Weather" and was co-chair of SEJ's 2015 annual conference. Put Nancy on a bicycle and she's happy. Board member since 2015. Current term: 2015 - 2018. Contact Nancy.

Treasurer and Finance Chair
Christy George is an independent radio and television producer in Portland, Oregon. Her most recent projects have been for Oregon Public Broadcasting's TV show, "Oregon Field Guide," and the PBS program, "History Detectives." She's also working on a book about climate change and social change. Christy initially moved to Oregon to create a bureau covering the intersection of business and the environment for the American Public Media business show, "Marketplace," and later hosted the weekly radio show, "Oregon Territory." Before that, Christy edited foreign and national news for The Boston Herald and covered politics for WGBH-TV and WBUR-FM. She started out as a volunteer, covering noise and air pollution and neighborhood encroachment by Logan Airport for The East Boston Community News — a dream job that first introduced her to the environment beat. Christy has won Emmys in both the Northwest and New England, a Gracie Allen Award, an Edward R. Murrow award, a first-place prize in the New York Festivals and numerous AP and SPJ awards. Her special, "Liquid Gold," on how water is bought, sold and marketed like any other commodity, was part of "Marketplace's" 1998 winning submission for a Columbia-DuPont Silver Baton award. A high school graduate, she was a 1990-91 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. Board member since 2000. Current term: 2015 - 2018. Contact Christy, 503-702-8448.

Secretary
Dennis Dimick served as executive environment editor at National Geographic magazine and was a picture editor at the National Geographic Society for more than 35 years until his retirement from the Society at the end of 2015. He guided a variety of major magazine projects, including a special issue on global freshwater in April 2010, a 2011 series on global population and a 2014 series on global food security. In September 2004, he orchestrated a 74-page, three-story project on climate change called “Global Warning: Bulletins from a Warmer World.” In 2014, he created and edited projects on the future of coal as an energy source and on the vanishing snowpack of the American West. From 2008-2012, Dimick co-organized the Aspen Environment Forum, and he regularly presents slide-show lectures on global environmental issues. For 19 years he has been a faculty member of the Missouri Photo Workshop, and in 2013 received the Sprague Memorial Award from the National Press Photographers Association for outstanding service to photojournalism. His work has also received awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists and Pictures of the Year International. Dimick, who grew up on an Oregon farm, holds degrees in agriculture and agricultural journalism from Oregon State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, the National Press Photographers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Board member since 2016. Current term: 2016 - 2019. Contact Dennis.

 

Jeff Burnside is an independent journalist based in Seattle.  He has been in the news business for more than 20 years working as a reporter, anchor, news manager and producer in Boston,  Miami (WTVJ Special Projects Unit) and most recently, Seattle, as senior investigative reporter for KOMO4 News.  He's won more than 20 journalism awards — for television and newspaper reporting and photography — including a dozen regional Emmys. Among his environmental stories, Jeff was among the very first to chronicle the harm to marine mammals from low frequency active Navy sonar, documented concerns over rock mining threats to Miami-Dade wellheads where one million people get their drinking water, has traveled extensively to cover the decline of the world's coral reefs and ventured to the bottom of the ocean aboard a scientific submersible during bioprospecting and reporting the damage from bottom trawling. His general assignments have ranged from interviewing presidents, going inside to investigate violent white extremists, exposing dangerous religious cults, documenting serious lapses in Florida's drivers' licensing, videotaping bribes, to going undercover to expose the little-known pipeline from puppy mills to pet stores. Jeff is also a frequent invited speaker and panelist on environmental journalism and journalism ethics. He's earned working media fellowships at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Tromso, Norway), Steinbrenner Institute for climate science (Carnegie Mellon University), Reynolds Center for Business Journalism on the green economy (Cronkite School at Arizona State University), Metcalf Institute for Environmental Reporting (University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography) and the Western Knight Center for Specialized Reporting in political coverage (University of Southern California Annenberg School). Board member since 2006. Current term: 2015 - 2018. Contact Jeff, 305-333-6615.

 

Gloria Dickie is a freelance multimedia journalist, covering science and the environment, with a focus on biodiversity conservation. Her work has appeared in National Geographic News, Outside, Discover, High Country News, Motherboard, Hakai Magazine, Audubon, OnEarth, bioGraphic, The Denver Post, Arctic Deeply and Adventure Journal. She also serves as a writer and researcher on an upcoming feature-length climate change documentary with environmental photographer James Balog (Chasing Ice). Gloria has a master's degree in journalism from the University of Colorado Boulder, where she worked at the Center for Environmental Journalism for two years, and a graduate certificate in environmental policy. In 2016, she was awarded an Arctic journalism fellowship at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Current term: 2016 - 2019. Contact Gloria.

 

Scott Dodd is executive editor for Grist Magazine, Inc. Starting in 1994, he worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter and editor, spending eight years at The Charlotte Observer, where he contributed to Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina by a sister Knight-Ridder publication. He was an editor at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s onEarth magazine and later served as the organization’s editorial director, overseeing digital content. Scott has written for a number of publications, including Scientific American and Slate. He holds journalism degrees from Penn State and Columbia. Board member since 2017. Current term: 2017-2020. Contact Scott.

 

Breanna Draxler is an environmental journalist and a recent transplant to Seattle. She is an editor at bioGraphic, where she edits features, writes stories and manages production. Originally from the northwoods of Wisconsin, Breanna was most recently living in New York, working as an editor for Popular Science magazine, and before that at Discover. She initially got into the beat while working at the Center for Environmental Journalism and pursuing a master's in environmental journalism from CU Boulder. In addition to journalistic storytelling, she's also a fan of biking, backpacking and experimenting with lactofermentation. Current term: 2017-2020. Contact Breanna.

 

Judy Fahys covers environmental issues in Utah, where climate change, the Bears Ears National Monument, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for news. She works at KUER 90.1, the NPR affiliate in Salt Lake City. She’s a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking and gardening. Current term: 2017-2020. Contact Judy, 801-587-8234.

 

Lyndsey Gilpin is a freelance journalist based in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. She is the editor and publisher of Southerly, a weekly newsletter about ecology, justice and culture in the American South. Her work has appeared in Harper's, CityLab, FiveThirtyEight, The Washington Post, Hakai, The Atlantic, Outside, InsideClimate News and more. Most recently, she was a fellow at High Country News, where she was nominated for a Livingston Award for her yearlong investigation of sexual harassment in the National Park Service. Current term: 2017-2020. Contact Lyndsey.

 

Gloria Gonzalez is Senior Editor at Crain Communications where she covers health care and environmental health and safety issues. Gloria was previously the news editor and a program manager at Ecosystem Marketplace where she reported and wrote stories for Ecosystem Marketplace's website and contributed to the "State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets" and "State of the Forest Carbon Markets" reports. Prior to joining the Ecosystem Marketplace team, Gloria was the Americas Editor of Environmental Finance and Carbon Finance magazines. Gloria graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in magazine journalism and political science. Board member since 2015. Current term: 2015 - 2018. Contact Gloria, 347-623-1904.

 

Wm. Roger Witherspoon has spent more than four decades working in all forms of the media as a journalist, author, educator and public relations specialist. Along the way, he has written extensively on politics, foreign affairs, finance, defense, civil rights, constitutional law, health, the environment and energy. Most of his career has been in the news business, working as a full time reporter, editor, columnist or producer for a variety of media companies including newspapers (The Record, N. J.; Star Ledger, N. J.; NY Daily News; Atlanta Constitution; Dallas Times Herald; and Journal News (N.Y.); television (CNN, KNBC and NBC Network); and radio (WCBN, MI). As a freelance writer, he has written for several publications, including Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Essence, The Economist and US Black Engineer & IT. As an educator, he was responsible for restructuring the print and broadcast curriculum and staff in the Department of Mass Communications at Clark-Atlanta University. In public affairs, he managed millions of dollars in health and environmental grant programs globally for Exxon Corp. He is the author of "Martin Luther King, Jr…to the Mountaintop," Doubleday; and co-author of "Feats and Wisdom of the Ancients," Time-Life Books; and "Engineering 101: A Text Manual," Hampton University College of Science and Engineering. He is a founder of the Association of Black Journalists, which grew into the present National Association of Black Journalists; and a member of the International Motor Press Association and the Automotive Press Association. Board member since 2011. Current term: 2014 - 2017. Contact Roger, 201-906-0220.

Representative for the SEJ Academic Membership
David Poulson is the senior associate director of Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental journalism where he teaches environmental, investigative, public affairs and computer-assisted reporting. He also organizes and implements workshops in the U.S. and abroad to help professional journalists better report on the environment and to help researchers better communicate their work to the public. He is the founder and editor of Great Lakes Echo, a non-profit award-winning environmental news service serving the Great Lakes region. Before arriving at MSU in 2003, he had a 22-year professional journalism career, including 11 years as the environmental reporter in the Lansing bureau of Booth Newspapers. In 2015 the International Association of Great Lakes Research recognized Poulson for "sustained efforts to inform and educate the public and policymakers on Great Lakes issues." Board member since 2013. Current term: 2016 - 2019. Contact David, (517) 432-5417.

Representative for the SEJ Associate Membership and Membership Co-Chair
Meaghan Parker is the Senior Writer/Editor for the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, where she is the editor of the award-winning ECSP Report and supervising editor of the New Security Beat. Meghan is the supervising producer of four award-winning mini-documentaries, including the Healthy People, Healthy Environment series and Broken Landscape: Confronting India’s Water-Energy Choke Point, which won an Honorable Mention from the 2015 SEJ Awards for Environmental Reporting. Prior to joining the Center, Meaghan was Manager of Research and Internal Communications at the energy company PPL Global, where she analyzed international investments and renewable energy policy. Meaghan is a member of the DC Science Writers’ Association and the International Studies Association. Board member since 2012. Current term: 2015 - 2018. Contact Meaghan, 202-691-4182.

Ex Officio Board Member

Founding President
Jim Detjen served as Director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and Knight Chair at Michigan State University from January 1995 through May 2012. Previously Detjen spent 21 years as a professional newspaper reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal and other publications. His reporting has won more than 50 state, national and international awards including Polk, National Headliner, Stokes and Meeman awards. He is a three-time finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. Detjen is a contributor to or author of four books on environmental and science journalism topics. He has lectured widely and has taught journalism workshops in the British Isles, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, China, Japan, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Mexico and throughout the U.S. Detjen helped found the International Federation of Environmental Journalists in 1993 and served as IFEJ president from 1994 to 2000. He earned a bachelor's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. Detjen was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach at Nanakai University in Tianjin, China, during the spring semester of 2002. Ex officio board member and founding president, 1990.  Contact Jim, 517-353-9479.

Back to the top

SEJ Staff

Executive Director
Melisa Klem became SEJ's executive director on January 3, 2017. Klem has spent more than 13 years working in development for conservation and human health nonprofits, and raising millions of dollars. The SEJ Board of Directors selected Klem to serve as the group's second leader, replacing founding executive director Beth Parke who last summer announced her plans to step aside after nearly 24 years of leadership. Klem previously served as the development director at the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, the national director of development at the Izaak Walton League of America and senior director of development at the Potomac Conservancy. Read more about Klem here. Contact Melisa, 202-558-2300.

Executive Director, 1993-2016
Beth Parke became SEJ's first executive director in 1993, stepping down at the end of 2016. She provided entrepreneurial leadership to clarify, protect and advance SEJ's mission. Parke's responsibilities included implementation of board policies, budget and finance, development, strategic planning, university relations with regard to annual conferences, and collaboration with partners in the journalism community. From 1984-1992 Parke was senior producer and host for Consider the Alternatives, an award-winning radio series on public policy issues. Prior to that she was employed as a producer for National Public Radio affiliates WGBH-FM, Boston and WHYY-FM, Philadelphia. Parke earned a B.A. in Communications from Boston College, and an M.A. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Parke will remain on staff through March 2017 in a consulting role. Contact Beth, 202-558-2050.

Associate Director, Director of Awards
A. Christine Bruggers has served with distinction in multiple staff roles since 1993. Her leadership and creativity has included design and operation of database systems for membership, listservs and accounts; marketing, planning and implemention of annual conferences, awards, FEJ and other programs; training and supervising administrative and program staff; design and production of SEJournal; and leadership with SEJ's board on membership policy and elections procedures. She is responsible for moving membership applications and member data from paper to electronic files in 2009. Bruggers also serves as Director of SEJ Awards and as such developed one of the earliest online entry-form procedures for journalism awards in 2010. She also supervises the annual board election and created online balloting in 2010, both saving money and increasing voter parcipitation. Bruggers earned a B.A. in professional writing from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. She is also an accomplished photographer. Contact Chris, 202-558-2022.

Records Manager
Lisa Cosgriff manages SEJ member records and accounting files, greets callers to headquarters and lends support to programs. Prior to joining the staff of SEJ in 2015, Cosgriff was database coordinator for the Pennsylvania SPCA and development database coordinator at KCTS 9, Seattle Public Television. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Portland State University in Oregon. She is extremely sorry she missed out on SEJ’s 2001 conference hosted by PSU. Contact Lisa, 202-558-2055.

 

SEJ Project Consultants

TipSheet and WatchDog TipSheet Editor; member, SEJ FOI Taskforce
Joseph A. Davis is a freelance writer/editor in Washington, D.C. who has been writing about the environment since 1976. He directs the WatchDog Project, an activity of SEJ's Freedom of Information Task Force that reports on secrecy trends and supports reporters' efforts to make better use of FOIA, and writes SEJournal Online’s Backgrounders and TipSheet columns. He also compiles SEJ's daily news headlines, EJToday. Davis was senior writer with the Environmental Health Center until 2002, where he was acting editor of EHC's Environment Writer as well as principal author of EHC's reporter's guide on the science of global climate change. Between 1982 and 1989, he covered energy, environment and natural resources for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C. Davis earned his B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has experience in database reporting and has taught Web publishing. Contact Joe, 301-656-2261.

SEJournal Online Editor
A. Adam Glenn is an award-winning journalist, media consultant and journalism educator with 30-plus years in newspaper, magazine and online newsrooms, including ABCNews.com. A long-time specialist in environmental news, he is editor of the SEJournal Online and is on the SEJ editorial advisory board. He is also editor of the climate adaptation news project AdaptNY and of the Reporter's Guide to Climate Adaptation. An online pioneer since the 1990s, he has spent the last decade focused on community, engagement and social media. Adam's consulting clients have included news publishers, journalism think tanks, and non-profit and charitable organizations. He is on the faculty at the Graduate School of Journalism of the City University of New York, and previously taught at New York University and Columbia University. Adam has won numerous fellowships and grants, most recently as a public policy scholar at the Washington, D.C.-based Wilson Center think tank. He holds a Master of Arts degree in international policy from the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Boston University. He lives with his daughter in the Lower Hudson Valley outside New York City. Contact Adam, 914-409-8795.

Annual Conference Director
Jay Letto, a founding member of SEJ, has been the group's annual conference director since 1993. He also works as a freelance writer and editor. From 1986 to 1992, Letto served as director of the environment program at the Scientists' Institute for Public Information in New York City, where he was also co-editor of SIPIscope. Letto has organized scores of programs for journalists on the full spectrum of environmental issues. As annual conference director for SEJ, he works with the board conference chair and dozens of member-volunteers to organize a balanced, diverse and news-making program dealing with the myriad aspects of news reporting on environmental issues. Letto is on the editorial board of the Stanford University publication Ecofables/Ecoscience and on the advisory board of the Science & Technology News Network. Letto earned his B.S. in biology and environmental studies from the University of Michigan. He also holds an M.A. in journalism, with a certificate in science and environmental reporting, from New York University. Contact Jay, 509-493-4428 (West Coast - Pacific Time).

Web Content Manager
Cindy MacDonald, SEJ's Web content manager, develops and maintains fresh, accurate and timely content for www.sej.org on a daily basis. She has applied her technical expertise and extensive experience as a detail-oriented writer and administrator to this creative and critically important service to the SEJ community since December 2000. Based near Lindsay, Ontario, Canada, MacDonald is an avid proponent of accurate information in general and on environmental issues in particular. She is a French/Spanish undergraduate of the University of Windsor, Canada. Contact Cindy.

Programs Associate
Dale Willman is a Murrow award-winning journalist and international journalism trainer. Currently a freelancer, until recently he was the managing editor (as well as co-founder) of Saratoga Wire, a hyper-local newspaper covering the town of Saratoga Springs, NY. Willman was a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia for 2010-2011. He spent more than 10 years in various roles at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. During the first Gulf War he provided reporting and hourly newscasts from London. His work was included in NPR's receipt of the 1991 duPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism. Also while with NPR, Willman shared a Peabody Award for his work on the Lost and Found Sound series broadcast on All Things Considered. As a correspondent he won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting in 1998 for his CNN Radio series, Broadway's Dirty Little Secret. And while with CBS, Willman provided coverage of the White House, Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and the State Department for CBS Radio stations. He also served as field producer and correspondent for a number of major events, from U.S.-Soviet Summits to the bombing of the Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City. He now reports on environmental issues. He is also a public speaker, and teaches on college campuses on numerous topics, from environmental journalism to media diversity. Contact Dale.

 

Advisory Board
Marla Cone
Steve Curwood
Gregg Easterbrook
Charles Eisendrath
Judy Muller
Rich Oppel
Gene Roberts
Rick Rodriguez
Sandy Rowe
Teya Ryan
Robert Semple
Judy Woodruff

Walter Cronkite (1916-2009)
Peter Desbarats (1933-2014)
Katherine Fanning (1927-2000)
Thomas Winship (1920-2002)

 

Editorial Advisory Board
Robert McClure (chair)
Adam Glenn (SEJournal editor)
Meaghan Parker (Board of Directors liaison)
Roger Archibald
Beth Daley
Joseph A. Davis
Tom Henry
Sharon Oosthoek
Karen Schaefer
Bob Wyss

 

 

Endowment Committee
Peter Thomson (co-chair)
Carolyn Whetzel (co-chair)
Emilia Askari
James Bruggers
Peter Dykstra
Dan Fagin
Christy George
Kathrin Lassila
David Ropeik
Robert Thomas
Beth Parke (ex officio)

Back to the top