TV Gigs, Scholarships and New Blogs Among New Accomplishments

July 15, 2010

Media on the Move

By JUDY FAHYS

While many SEJers chased the Deepwater Horizon spill and its widespread consequences as summer was poised to begin, several members provided updates on impressive projects. The new ventures included fellowships, online gigs, television and more.

Suzanne Bohan and Sandy Kleffman of the Bay Area News Group (which includes the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune) have been awarded the Edgar A. Poe Award for excellence in coverage of news of national or regional significance.

The awards were presented at the annual fundraising dinner of the White House Correspondents' Association at the Washington Hilton Hotel. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama greeted and congratulated the winners.

Bohan and Kleffman's four-part series, entitled "Shortened Lives: Where You Live Matters," was cited by the judges as "wellreported stories (that) offer unique and valuable lessons for public health policy."

"Through extensive use of county health records, Bohan and Kleffman stand conventional wisdom on its head, providing powerful evidence that variations in disease rates and life expectancies between neighborhoods in Alameda County, Calif., are not — as widely assumed — the result of poor people making bad choices about diet and exercise. Rather the discrepancies stem from multiple forces that deny those living in poor communities access to the basic resources necessary to engage in a healthy lifestyle, however great their desire to do so. These powerful and poignant stories provide ... strong evidence that blaming the victims is not a substitute for dealing seriously with the underlying causes of the health care crisis."

Dale Willman told about an exciting year ahead as a Fulbright Scholar, which will have him teaching and conducting

Willman will teach environmental journalism and new media courses at Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung, Indonesia. He will also research noted naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace and Wallace's work in what was then known as the Malay Archipelago. That research will take Willman to a number of remote locations around the island nation.

Willman has conducted trainings over the past two years for journalists in Indonesia. In addition to his teaching and research, he will continue his consulting work with 68H, the nation's only non-government country-wide radio network. 68H also owns Jakarta's 'Green Radio,' one of the world's first radio stations to produce 24-hour environmental programming.

Willman will be working with 68H to implement the usage of FrontlineSMS, a text messaging software package that he has been using successfully with journalists in Zambia and Malawi. Frontline provides journalists with an additional tool that can be used to better communicate with the communities they serve.

Craig Saunders has begun a new, part-time gig as an instructor in the publishing program at Ryerson University in Toronto. He previously taught at George Brown College, where he developed Canada's first course blending conventional and on-screen proofreading.

Jim Motavalli is the new blogger at NPR's Car Talk (with Click and Clack), and (with SEJ's Sally Deneen) will co-author a new column on green washing for AOL.

Motavalli is also a regular online writer for The New York Times, CBS Moneywatch, Hearst's Daily Green and Mother Nature Network. Rodale is publishing his forthcoming book on electric cars.

High Country News' editor-in-chief, Jonathan Thompson, is resigning to pursue other adventures. To fill his position, the nonprofit newsmagazine performed an extensive search and decided ultimately to promote from within.

Jodi Peterson, associate editor, who's been with HCN since 2005, is now managing editor. She'll oversee the editorial staff and the content of the magazine and Web site, hcn.org.

Working closely with her is HCN's senior editor Ray Ring, also the co-chair of this year's SEJ conference. Ray first started writing for HCN 25 years ago and has generated a long string of award-winning feature stories. He will oversee the feature story lineup and write occasional stories and columns.

Assistant editor Sarah Gilman is HCN's new associate editor. She will continue to oversee the front section of the magazine, and she will also take on more longer editing and writing assignments.

Terri Hansen reported that she was a 2009 National Press Foundation Fellow, as well as a 2010 Association of Health Care Journalists Fellow.

Joe Roman is a founding editor of Solutions, a new, bimonthly publication that started in January. It is a hybrid academic and popular journal that showcases ideas for solving the world's environmental, social and political problems.

The journal brings cutting-edge ideas from academics and professionals to an audience of policy makers, business leaders and engaged members of the public. You can see it online here.

Judy Fahys is environment reporter at The Salt Lake Tribune.

* From SEJ's quarterly newsletter SEJournal, Summer 2010 issue.

 

JUDY FAHYS