What SEJ Offers: Many Members Unaware of Full Range of Services

May 15, 2006

By CHRIS RIGEL 

If you're like most members, you're too busy making your deadline to read all the SEJ literature, email and website content that has been developed to help you plug into the SEJ community and to enhance your reporting on environment. If this sounds like you, please give a quick scan to the headers below to see if there's something you don't know about that might just be a terrific resource.

Freedom of information: SEJ has been active in the FOI fight since 2002 when it formed a task force to address the problem of dwindling information. Specific initiatives are listed here, including the latest: SEJ filed a statement Jan. 13, 2006, calling on EPA to abandon its proposal to cut back on how much data the agency collects and publishes on toxic emissions. SEJ's opposition to the Toxics Release Inventory "burden reduction" was endorsed by seven other national journalism organizations.

SEJ members can get hands-on help with their ongoing information requests from federal, state or local governments by contacting the Freedom of Information Task Force. See the task force members' names and contact information here. If you're interested in FOI issues and you're not getting the WatchDog, a biweekly email, contact SEJ at sej@sej.org or 215.884.8174 and ask to be subscribed.

Sharing stories: The daily SEJ-Beat email, now edited by TipSheet editor Joe Davis, is a summary of the day's online postings to EJToday. Davis brings his savvy news-hound mind to EJToday, rounding up daily coverage of published, aired or posted environmental news. To subscribe, contact SEJ.

Online here, EJToday is a collection of thousands of environmental stories dating from today back to Feb. 22, 2002. You can search the archives by topic, reporter name, headline, etc. Stories can be submitted for EJToday consideration in a simple form that takes about a minute.

SEJ en Español: Program associate Esteban Romero has been working with website manager Cindy MacDonald and others to build an addition to SEJ.org: SEJ en Español. The site contains translations of many of SEJ.org's pages, as well as a growing list of Latin American resources. SEJ friend and member photos dress up the site. Check it out – it's a beauty!

Awards: SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment deadline is April 1 annually, so visit here for entry forms, FAQs and complete rules.

Conferences: Annual conferences are heavily discounted for members. Non-member registration fees begin at $700, but we've managed to keep member fees down to $170. If you've never been to a conference, the agenda is set by members; panel sessions, workshops and tours are organized by members. This means annual conference programs are designed by journalists, for journalists. You will be in touch with key players in current environmental issues, listen to debates, learn the latest computerassisted reporting techniques, spend a day in the field on one of nine concurrent tours. (See story, next page.)

Members will receive a conference brochure in April. Check the website through the months leading up to this year's conference in Burlington, Vermont, Oct. 25-29, to see emerging agenda details.

Fellowships: Reporting fellowships are listed on the entry page of SEJ.org on the right in the yellow "Events and Opportunities" column. Look also in "Careers" in the blue nav bar at the left to find additional fellowships, contests, workshops, awards and more. SEJ's mentoring program can be accessed from there, too. If you're new to the beat, you may want to partner for a year with a veteran environmental reporter. And if you're a veteran to the beat, consider volunteering your time and knowledge as a mentor.

Membership: Renewals can be handled online. Watch for your renewal form by mail or email – both explain how. If you're still getting your renewal form through the mail and you want to receive it by email, contact SEJ at sej@sej.org or 215-884-8174.

SEJournal: Besides the one in your hand, past issues are available on the SEJ website.

Feedback: Questions, comments, suggestions, pet peeves, reason to brag? Contact the SEJ office. It's a small staff, so your query may not be answered immediately, but we're dedicated to helping SEJ members–and if we don't know the answer, we may know someone who does.

Chris Rigel is SEJ's associate director

Member User Names And Pass Codes

 Members' log-in information is included on member renewal forms, both standard mail and email versions. SEJ keeps a record of only the original pass code; any member who has changed pass code and lost that pass code will need the original reset. This takes two or three days.

Members who want to pay dues online will need their member log-in information for the renewal form. For the secure site where payment is made, separate log-in information is required. The secure site is the same one SEJ uses for annual conference registration. Members who have registered for conference online will already have a user name and pass code for this site. A reminder link exists for forgotten log-in information. Members who have never visited the secure site will need to register, a process that takes about three minutes.

A Guide to SEJ's Many Listservs

SEJ-Talk is a members-only discussion listserv. You can use this list to ask other journalists questions about issues you need to cover or sources for specific issues. The list is also used to discuss SEJ issues or topics that have an impact on journalists and reporting on the environment. (Frequency fluctuates.)
SEJ-Announce is SEJ's official announcement listserv, used only for important messages concerning SEJ. (Frequency: about once a week. Members only. Posting restricted to SEJ HQ only.) 
SEJ-TipSheet:Biweekly news tips on potential environmental stories, including contact information for story sources.) (Frequency: every two weeks, plus alerts.) TipSheet WatchDog Edition reports on environment-related freedom-of-information and right-to-know issues. (Frequency: biweekly. Members and non-members who are eligible for membership only. Posting restricted to TipSheet editor only.) 
SEJ-Beat: See what your fellow reporters are covering and share your environmental stories. This is an interactive list featuring environmental stories from across the nation and internationally. (Frequency: once a day. Subscriptions open to all. Posting restricted to Beat editor only.) 
SEJ-Mail: A distribution of news releases and announcements of job openings, internships, fellowships and freelancing opportunities from organizations that have paid a fee to SEJ. Contents of messages distributed via SEJ-MAIL are not created by and do not reflect the views of the Society of Environmental Journalists. (Frequency: about one to four times weekly. Members only. Posting restricted to SEJ HQ only.)

An archive of all messages posted to date on SEJ listservs is maintained in the members area on www.sej.org. You will need your member passcode to log in.

To subscribe to any of these listservs, contact SEJ at sej@sej.org or 215-884-8174. Some subscriptions carry eligibility criteria. Check with the SEJ office. 

** From SEJ's quarterly newsletter SEJournal Spring, 2006 issue.

CHRIS RIGEL