By JUDY FAHYS
Longtime SEJ member Debbie Gilbert tells a story of adapting to an unexpected change on the environment beat. She had been covering health and the environment for almost 10 years at The Times in Gainesville, Ga., when she was "downsized" in April. Four months later, the White County News in Cleveland, Ga., hired her as a reporter.
She now writes about anything that needs to be covered, "since it's a small-town weekly." And she's often covering the environment again, because 40 percent of White County is public land — the Chattahoochee National Forest, the Blue Ridge Mountains, two state parks, and the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River, the source of drinking water for 3 million people in metro Atlanta.
"My new job has also reduced my carbon footprint," says Gilbert, who used to commute 50 miles roundtrip each day. "Now, my workplace is less than a mile from my house! My monthly gasoline consumption is about 10 gallons."
Other SEJ members report changes, too.
Mark Neuzil, journalism professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has been named one of the faculty advisers to TommieMedia, the school's all-on-line news portal. St. Thomas is the first Associated Press member in the nation to fold its television news shows, radio station and newspaper into one Web site and end publication of the printed paper.
Freelancer Jennifer Weeks is contributing stories to Book of Odds, a new website about the odds of everyday life.
Dick Russell is completing a second book with former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura. This one is on American Conspiracies.
SEJ board member Cheryl Hogue is enjoying a promotion at Chemical & Engineering News. Her reporting duties remain the same, but she's moved up from senior editor to senior correspondent.
John Moir was the Grand Prize Winner in the Writer's Digest annual writing competition for 2009. His winning article, published at Smithsonian.com, tells of the discovery linking lead bullets to the risk of sub-lethal lead poisoning in humans who eat hunter-shot game. The honor includes a $3,000 cash prize, a trip to New York City to meet with agents and editors and a profile of the writer and his work in the November/December issue of Writer's Digest magazine. See the interview.
Sharon Friedman, a professor of journalism, was awarded the International Green Pen Award from the Asia-Pacific Forum for Environmental Journalists this month, for her work in advancing international environmental reporting.
The award is given to those who have helped encourage others to pursue journalism that focuses on the environment, according to Sri Lanka Environmental Journalists Forum, a social organization that uses the media to make change.
Judy Fahys is environment reporter at The Salt Lake Tribune. Contact her with your news of your latest arrival, book projects or job change at firstname.lastname@example.org
** From SEJ's quarterly newsletter SEJournal, Winter 2009-10 issue