- What’s EJToday’s purpose?
- Is EJToday run by the Society of Environmental Journalists?
- Who does run EJToday?
- How is EJToday produced?
- What criteria does EJToday use to select headlines?
- Are SEJ members’ stories featured in EJToday?
- Where else can I publicize my stories?
- Does EJToday have an East Coast bias?
- Could EJToday highlight more from nonprofit or regional news outlets?
- Could EJToday be better or more useful?
What’s EJToday’s purpose?
EJToday is a daily weekday digest of top environmental/energy news and information designed to allow the reader — whether members of the Society of Environmental Journalists or the wider public — to keep up with a wide spectrum of environmental news. EJToday's challenge is to select what in its (independent, necessarily distinctive) view are the top headlines of that day. So by definition, given the abundance of high-quality, interesting news on our beat, the vast majority of stories will not be included. But of course, no curation is meant to be comprehensive. Our hope, though, is that it's a useful and scannable product that keeps readers up to date on major developments in big ongoing stories.
Is EJToday run by the Society of Environmental Journalists?
Not exactly. Like all SEJ publications, EJToday is supported financially and technically by the SEJ organization but its operations are editorially independent. That serves to maintain editorial integrity and the strongest possible news standards. SEJ’s founders wanted to ensure that SEJ publications did not become house organs that simply promote the organization (or, by extension, its members). They wanted, and we hope we continue to maintain, publications that truly help members do their job better, which is to inform the public. This desire of the founders to maintain high-quality publications is why we also have an Editorial Advisory Board that has editorial independence from the staff of the organization. There is more on that and the Editorial Advisory Board here.
Who does run EJToday?
EJToday’s longtime editor is Joseph A. Davis, a freelance writer/editor in Washington, D.C., who has been writing about the environment since 1976. Davis also writes SEJournal's TipSheet, Reporter's Toolbox, Issue Backgrounder and WatchDog Opinion columns, and is project director for SEJ's Freedom of Information Task Force. Davis confers on his editorial work with SEJ’s editorial director of publications, A. Adam Glenn, and the chair of the SEJ Editorial Advisory Board, Robert McClure.
How is EJToday produced?
Davis sifts through many possible news stories early each weekday morning in order to prepare a curated list of the top 10 environmental and energy stories of the day. The headlines and excerpts of those stories, and oftentimes several related headlines, are then published on the EJToday page of the SEJ.org website and the EJToday newsletter, as well as the @EJTodayNews social media platform by around 10 a.m. ET each day, five days a week.
What criteria does EJToday use to select headlines?
- Is it environmental? We take a wide view: energy, animals, nature, earth sciences, etc.
- Is it news? We consider the classic “news values”: timeliness, conflict, prominence, importance, impact, unexpectedness, etc. But we also consider human interest and how interesting, fresh and counterintuitive it is.
- Is it “hard” news? We lean toward breaking news over features, which often means greater attention to government decisions, such as agency rulemakings, legislative action and court decisions.
- Is it investigative news? We gravitate toward stories that require lots of work to produce.
- Is it “straight” news? We tend to avoid stories that are purely advocacy or opinion. Opinion stories are never the main item and are always labeled as opinion.
- Is it geographically balanced, especially between regions within the United States?
- Are the stories open-source so the audience can easily read them? Some great stories are behind paywalls and not freely accessible, but we often include them so that the EJToday reader is at least alerted to their existence.
Are SEJ members’ stories featured in EJToday?
Although it certainly happens, the EJToday service is not designed as a showcase for members’ work. Rather, it is aimed at the general public, with two-thirds of its readership outside the SEJ membership. EJToday is part of a conversation that transcends SEJ, encouraging those outside the organization to take environmental issues seriously. It also aligns the service with SEJ’s mission as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, which is “to strengthen the quality, reach and viability of journalism across all media to advance public understanding of environmental issues.” In other words, SEJ (and EJToday) are here to benefit the public. Bottom line: EJToday is not a good way to try to promote your news outlet to the public, because of its necessary brevity. That said, for SEJ members, we hope it’s a concise and useful tool to help you catch up on the day's news and perhaps generate additional story ideas of your own.
Where else can I publicize my stories?
You can flag the @EJTodayNews handle on X, formerly known as Twitter, where our account shares many more stories than the EJToday newsletter. Or you can email the editors at SEJournal (firstname.lastname@example.org) to share your story and indicate your willingness to be contacted about writing an article on your reporting. Or you can enter the SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment.
Does EJToday have an East Coast bias?
Although it’s true that EJToday is published in the mornings, Eastern time, that doesn’t mean it’s limited to only stories from the East Coast and that are actually published that day. We aim to the extent possible for geographic balance within the United States, although we’re hoping in the future to find ways to include more regional news.
Could EJToday highlight more from nonprofit or regional news outlets?
Yes, but it’s simply not possible for one editor to individually check hundreds of news outlets (there are a number of excellent environmental news roundups available that do; EJToday is not set up to compete with them). Remember, EJToday is not intended to cover everything. That’s a feature. Not a bug. EJToday succeeds because it is brief. Expanding it from 10 items to, say, 20 or 25 items would measurably change the product. It would take twice as long for the reader to plow through, for instance. Scannability counts heavily in this product.
Could EJToday be better or more useful?
Of course! The SEJ Publications team is always open to ideas on how to improve all its products. We welcome feedback from you, either via email to email@example.com, individually to members of the editorial team involved with publications, on the SEJ listserv, in the hallways of SEJ events or wherever you think a productive conversation is possible. You can also fill out a brief ongoing survey to share your thoughts.