SEJ Board & Staff

SEJ Celebrates 25 Years


Board of Directors 2015-16

Jeff Burnside, President
Jennifer Bogo, First Vice Pres. & Programs Chair
Kate Sheppard, Second Vice Pres. & Membership Chair
Gloria Gonzalez, Treasurer & Finance Chair
Bobby Magill, Secretary
Douglas Fischer, Future Conference Sites Chair
Nancy Gaarder
Christy George
Elizabeth Grossman
Randy Lee Loftis
Susan Moran
Mark Schleifstein
Roger Witherspoon
David Poulson, Rep. for Academic Membership
Meaghan Parker, Rep. for Associate Membership


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 (2014 conference associate), Cindy MacDonald; (front): Beth Parke, Chris Bruggers.
Click to enlarge photo.
                         Photo credit: Edward Schultz

SEJ Staff

Beth Parke, Executive Director
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 Editor
Jay Letto, Director of Annual Conferences
Cindy MacDonald, Web Content Manager
Randi Ross, 2014 Conference Associate
Dale Willman, Programs Associate

Advisory Board
SEJournal Editorial Board
Endowment Committee

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

Board of Directors 2015-2016

Jeff Burnside is the senior investigative reporter at KOMO 4 News in Seattle. He has been in the news business for more than 20 years working as a reporter, anchor, news manager and producer in cities such as Seattle, Boston and Miami where he was part of the highly regarded WTVJ Special Projects Unit. In addition to environmental reporting, Jeff covers daily news and periodically reports investigative stories. 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.

First Vice President and Programs Chair
Jennifer Bogo is the executive editor at Popular Science, where she orchestrates coverage on topics ranging from medical breakthroughs and space exploration to advances in alternative energy and robotics. Stories she edited have won a National Magazine Award and been included in The Best American Science Writing and Best American Science and Nature Writing anthologies. She’s appeared on radio and television programs, including NPR, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Nightly News, and Fox Business, to discuss topics such as green design, asteroid defense, and solar storms. She’s traveled to research stations from the Arctic to the Antarctic to write stories herself. Board member since 2013. Current term: 2013 - 2016. Contact Jennifer, (212) 779-5578.

Second Vice President and Membership Chair
Kate Sheppard is a senior reporter and the environment and energy editor at the Huffington Post. She previously reported for Mother Jones, Grist, and the American Prospect. Her writing has also been featured in the New York Times’ Room for Debate blog, the Guardian, Foreign Policy, High Country News, The Center for Public Integrity, In These Times, and Bitch. Her reporting has been recognized with awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Online News Association, and Planned Parenthood. She is also currently a graduate student in the School of Communication at American University, studying media entrepreneurship. Board member since 2013. Current term: 2013 - 2016. Contact Kate, (202) 360-6848.

Treasurer and Finance Chair
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.

Bobby Magill is a senior science writer covering energy and climate at Climate Central in New York City. Prior to joining Climate Central, 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 USA Today, High Country News, and other publications. His coverage of oil and gas drilling and fracking at the Coloradoan earned a commendation from the Columbia Journalism Review as a "model for other reporters on this beat in the West and beyond." Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., Bobby was a wilderness guide in Colorado and New Mexico and holds a B.A. in Communications with a specialization in Mass Media from the College of Charleston. He lives in New York City. Board member since 2015. Current term: 2015 - 2018. Contact Bobby, (646) 828-7359.

Future Conference Sites Chair
Douglas Fischer has spent 20 years in journalism. He is director of Environmental Health Sciences, the independent, nonprofit publisher of The Daily Climate and Environmental Health News. He is also an adjunct professor at Montana State University. Prior to this, Fischer spent eight years covering the environment for the Oakland Tribune and five years at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska, where, among other roles, he served as the paper’s restaurant reviewer. He started his journalism career in Newsweek’s Letters Department in New York City. His reporting has won numerous national and regional awards, among them an Award of Merit from the now-defunct Grantham Prize, at the time the world’s largest journalism prize. He lives with his wife and two children in Bozeman, Mont., where he's learning to play piano. Board member since 2009. Current term: 2013 - 2016. Contact Douglas, 406-219-3816.

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.

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.

Elizabeth Grossman is a Portland, Oregon-based journalist specializing in environmental and science issues. She is the author of "Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health and the Promise of Green Chemistry," "High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics and Human Health," "Watershed: The Undamming of America" and other books. Her reporting has taken her from the Arctic to south of the Equator. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Scientific American, Environmental Health Perspectives, Yale e360, Ensia, High Country News, The Pump Handle, Mother Jones, Chemical Watch, Al Jazeera America, Washington Post,, Salon, The Nation. "Chasing Molecules" was a 2009 Booklist “Top 10 Science & Technology” book and received a Gold Nautilus Award for Investigative Reporting. Her coverage of the BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster was recognized by the Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health as among the best 2010 workplace health and safety writing. She’s been a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, science journalism fellow at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and served as a workgroup member for the CDC’s National Conversation on Public Health and Chemical Exposures. When not at her desk she's out exploring, hiking, biking, paddling or cooking and tending to her woodland backyard. Contact Elizabeth.

Randy Lee Loftis is an independent journalist based in Dallas focusing on the environment, science and history. From 1989-2015 he was the environmental writer for The Dallas Morning News. Before joining The News he covered the environment for The Miami Herald and held a variety of reporting and editing jobs at The Anderson (S.C.) Independent. He is a past winner of the Edward J. Meeman Award for environmental reporting and the Worth Bingham Prize for investigative reporting, and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for investigative reporting. Loftis was a member of SEJ's founding board of directors and returned to the board in 2015. He chaired or co-chaired SEJ's annual conferences in Tucson (1997), Austin (2005) and Lubbock (2012). Loftis holds a BA from the University of Georgia and an MA from the University of North Texas, where he also teaches journalism. Board member since 2015. Current term: 2015 - 2018. Contact Randy.

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.

Environment reporter Mark Schleifstein has worked at | The Times-Picayune since 1984. In 2011, the Press Club of New Orleans honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. His stories on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil spill were among The Times-Picayune work honored with the 2010 Edward J. Meeman Award for environmental reporting from the Scripps-Howard Foundation National Journalism Awards program, and with a second place award in the 2011 John B. Oakes Awards program. His reporting during and after Hurricane Katrina was among the newspaper’s stories honored with 2006 Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service and Breaking News Reporting and the George Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting. He is the co-author with John McQuaid of Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms, published by Little, Brown & Co., in August 2006. Stories written with McQuaid prior to Katrina on coastal science issues were honored in 2006 with a special award from the American Geophysical Union. The 2002 series he co-authored, “Washing Away: How south Louisiana is growing more vulnerable to a catastrophic hurricane,” won the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2003 Excellence in Media award and the 2003 National Hurricane Conference media award. He also was co-author of the 1996 series, “Oceans of Trouble: Are the World’s Fisheries Doomed?” which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service from the Society of Professional Journalists. He co-authored the 1998 series, “Home Wreckers: How the Formosan termite is devastating New Orleans,” which was a finalist for the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and won awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Biological Sciences. He also was the co-author of the 1991 series, “Louisiana in Peril,” which was a finalist for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism. He is married to Diane Schleifstein, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren. Board member from 1999 - 2009, re-elected in 2013. Current term: 2013 - 2016. Contact Mark, (504) 826-3327.

Wm. Roger Witherspoon has spent more than 45 years 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 Society of Environmental Journalists, 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: 2013 - 2016. Contact David, (517) 432-5417.

Representative for the SEJ Associate Membership
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.

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SEJ Staff

Executive Director
Beth Parke became SEJ's first executive director in 1993. She provides entrepreneurial leadership to clarify, protect and advance SEJ's mission. Parke's responsibilities include 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. Contact Beth, 215-884-8174.

Associate Director, SEJournal Production and Design Editor
Christine Bruggers, has been with SEJ since 1993. She designed and built SEJ's database system. Responsibilities over the years have included planning and implemention of many SEJ programs, supervising administrative and program staff, services as design and production editor of SEJournal and leadership with SEJ's board on awards, membership and elections committees. Bruggers earned a B.A. in professional writing from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. She is also an accomplished photographer. Contact Chris, 502-641-1844.

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 sorry she missed out on SEJ’s 2001 conference hosted by PSU. Contact Lisa, 215-884-8174.


SEJ Project Consultants

TipSheet and WatchDog TipSheet Editor; member, SEJ FOI Taskforce
Joseph A. Davis, free-lance writer/editor in Washington, D.C., 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. He also edits TipSheet, a biweekly electronic newsletter of story ideas and sources co-published by SEJ and the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation (RTNDF). 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 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 A long-time specialist in environmental news, he currently manages the experimental climate adaptation news project AdaptNY. Adam is editor of the quarterly SEJournal (after a stint as features editor and co-editor in the 1990s) and is on the SEJ editorial advisory board. 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 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)

SEJournal Editorial Board
Robert McClure (chair)
Adam Glenn (editor)
Tom Henry
Bill Kovarik
David Sachsman
JoAnn Valenti
Denny Wilkins

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)

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