SEJ Members Show It Pays To “Go for It”

April 15, 2011

Media on the Move

By JUDY FAHYS

Society of Environmental Journalists had a few projects of note to mention over the winter.

Among them was Miranda Spencer, who reported a couple of interesting adventures in journalism.

First, she found proof that “pitch slams” work. She pitched at the slam at SEJ’s annual conference in Missoula, MT, last October and landed a feature story spot in American Forests magazine. The article was slated for publication in the magazine’sWinter 2011 issue.

Then, while in Cancun for COP-16, Spencer pitched a freelance breaking news story to The Daily Climate through the unconventional method: the “contact us” form on its website. The story was assigned a couple of hours later and due in under 24 hours. It was published 16 hours after that.

“Which just goes to show you,” she wrote to Media on the Move, “you never know, so go for it.”

Michelle Nijhuis is a 2011 Alicia Patterson fellow.

And Christy George, immediate past president of SEJ, started an eight-month gig producing TV for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

“I'll be producing an hour-long documentary about the Columbia River Gorge, and also another segment for the PBS show, History Detectives,” she said.

Meanwhile, Harvey Stone’s environmental thriller novel, Melting Down, will be published in late March by The Way Things Are Publications. The fast-paced fictional plot rests on real world facts, including the disappearing Arctic sea ice, the increasingly accessible oil and gas reserves under the Arctic and the fact that Russia has the largest landmass in the region. The story embeds climate science and impacts.

Stone noted that his approach is “meant to reach a broader audience at a time when overall climate change media coverage is declining sharply.” To find out more about the novel, see the webpage.

Sara Peach has been appointed the senior producer of the Reese Felts Digital News Project, an experimental student-run news organization at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her students are finalists for a South by Southwest Interactive award. She continues to produce stories about climate change and energy on a freelance basis.”

A note from the editor: Don’t forget to tell your colleagues in environmental journalism about your latest awards, projects and other noteworthy career news. Send in items to fahys@sltrib.com for the next upcoming issue. Reminders are sent out quarterly on the SEJ-TALK list.

Judy Fahys is environment reporter at The Salt Lake Tribune.

* From the quarterly newsletter SEJournal, Spring 2011 issue.