SEJ's 23rd Annual Conference Agenda — Saturday




New Tech Cars & Test-Drives
Game On! Plenary
Concurrent Sessions
Diversity Plenary
Beat Dinners & River Rocks Festival




Agenda Coverage Lodging/Travel Exhibits/Receptions Environmental News About Chattanooga


As a journalism organization that believes in an open society, SEJ each year welcomes a diverse group of attendees to our annual conference. Attendees include representatives of business, government and environmental groups, as well as working journalists, academics and students.

Because non-journalists are here, you may see or hear presentations or responses to presentations that you might not expect from mainstream journalists. The presentations and any responses do not necessarily reflect the views of SEJ or any of its members.

As our guest, you should respect our interest in open discussions of environmental issues by thanking all participants in sessions you attend and not disrupting presentations of views you disagree with.

Finally, please respect our rule that SEJ members are given preference during question-and-answer sessions.

All sessions, as well as registration, exhibits and breaks, will be at the Chattanooga Convention Center,
1150 Carter Street, Chattanooga (423-756-0001), unless otherwise indicated.

Note: All information is subject to change. Please check back often for updates and information on event times, speakers, etc.


Saturday, October 5, 2013


6:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Sign up for Mini-Tours at the nearby SEJ table. If you didn’t sign up ahead of time for the Sunday morning breakfast at the Hunter Museum, there may still be room — please check with registration.

Location: In the Information Booth near the Chattanooga Convention Center Ballroom


SEJ Information Table

6:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Sign up here for Mini-Tours. See board election results, find information about membership and services, SEJ Award winners, and pick up copies of SEJournal and other SEJ information.

Location: Outside Meeting Room 1


Exhibitor Displays

7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m

Browse through the wealth of information offered by our independent exhibitors. Talk with experts about their hopes for new environmentally friendly innovations. Learn about educational opportunities. Add to your list of sources.

Location: Exhibit Hall D and main hallway


SEJ's Chattanooga conference will host the U.S. debut of the 261-mpg Volkswagen XL1 Plug-in Hybrid. The XL1 will be on display Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon. Photo courtesy Volkswagen.

Vehicle Technology Demo

7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Sign up to test-drive new technology and talk with experts in the auto industry. Various automakers will be represented. Don't miss your chance to test-drive these environmentally friendly vehicles.

Location: Cars will be on exhibit in Exhibit Hall D; sign-up tables are located beside Meeting Room 1 and just outside on Carter Street.




University of Tennessee Bookstore

8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga bookstore will be open for business, selling books by speakers and SEJ members. Stop by and browse!

Location: In the main hallway near the ballroom


Game On! Breakfast, Environmental Games and Journalism

7:30 - 8:45 a.m. Breakfast is served beginning at 7:00 a.m.

We’ll be back in the big exhibit hall for more demos and fun. If you want to reach young audiences, try games. This interactive event will examine how journalists and game designers can collaborate to reach the public with quality information about climate change and other environmental issues. Bring your game face, grab your coffee and be ready to play. The kicker? Game companies are looking to collaborate with journalists to help write content. Sponsored by the Benwood Foundation. Coverage.

Download a list of some new environmental games (PDF).

Moderator: Emilia Askari, Journalist, Teacher, Game Developer, University of Michigan

Jane Ji, President and Co-founder, Springbay Studio Ltd.
Ben Shapiro, Assistant Professor, Department of Education, Tufts University
Steven Wangen, Postdoctoral Scholar, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, University of Wisconsin

Location: Exhibit Hall D


Concurrent Sessions 3

9:00 - 10:15 a.m.

Obstacles to Access: Strategies for the Stonewalled

Getting the runaround from a flack? Tired of being forced to provide questions in advance? Think reporters should actually be able to talk to government scientists about the research they conduct on our dime? This session will explore tools and tricks for getting around the stonewalling that's become all too common in our government agencies. If you've hit the wall lately, or found a way around it, come share. Coverage.

Moderator: Tim Wheeler, Reporter, The Baltimore Sun

Elizabeth Grossman, Freelance Journalist
John Messeder, Freelance Journalist
Camilla Mortensen, Associate Editor and Reporter, Eugene (Ore.) Weekly
Karen Schaefer, Freelance Journalist and Independent Radio Producer
Rae Tyson, Staff, Environmental Health News and former Public Affairs Director, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Location: Meeting Rooms 7-8

Can Nonprofit News Orgs Save Environmental Journalism?

You know the bad news: Newspapers are cutting environmental reporters, universities are shuttering science-writing programs, and the New York Times scuttled its Green blog. But there’s hope, too, in the rise of nonprofit journalism. New, revamped, or reinvigorated outlets — supported by NGOs, backed by academic institutions, or directly funded by donors — are breaking stories the big boys miss and winning awards, including the Pulitzer. But there are pitfalls, too, ranging from smaller, segmented audiences to concerns about pleasing donors. And can writers comfortably contribute to these agenda-focused outlets while continuing to write for mainstream publications? Coverage.

Moderator: Scott Dodd, Editor,

Caroline D’Angelo, Social Media Editor and E-Books Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
Sam Fromartz, Editor-in-Chief, Food and Environmental Reporting Network
Mary Hoff, Editor in Chief, Ensia Magazine

Location: Meeting Room 9

Wild Cities

For many animals, our cities are pleasant habitats with good shelter and garbage buffets for the finicky eater. But it’s not all sunshine in paradise. While some humans see the urban habitat as a refuge for wild creatures driven out of their natural haunts, others want resident geese banished from groomed lawns and parks. Come explore this mysterious environment that is the everyday one for more than 80 percent of the U.S. human population. Coverage.

Moderator: David Steinkraus, Independent Writer and Photographer

Scott Kahan, Regional Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Michael McKinney, Director, Environmental Studies Program, and Professor, Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Science, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Local animal control representative TBA

Location: Meeting Room 2

What Would Jesus/Plato/Confucius Do... About CO2?

The answer to the abstract policy question "What's our CO2 emission target?" determines who lives and dies, yet the case for combating climate change in the United States has been made primarily on scientific or economic grounds. Those arguments, at least in the United States, have failed to lead to action on the scale scientists say is needed to avert catastrophic climate change. Much social science research is now being done regarding how to convince people to act on climate change. If morality were part of the conversation, would a majority of Americans begin to see the need to act on climate change as immediate and critical? Coverage.

Moderator: Christy George, Independent TV Producer

Dawn Coppock, Co-founder and Volunteer Legislative Director, Lindquist Appalachian Environmental Fellowship
Alex Feldt, Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Joseph Romm, Founding Editor, and Chief Science Editor, Showtime TV series, "Years of Living Dangerously"

Location: Meeting Room 3

What Makes Green Buildings Really Green?

Green building, once a fringe movement, has expanded exponentially during the last decade, and may represent as much as 40 percent of new commercial construction. But with the construction industry blamed for more than half the energy Americans expend as a nation, attention is shifting to how well "green" buildings perform after they're built. We'll look at a range of standards, from the popular LEED certification to EarthCraft and Living Buildings, to assess the future for green building. Coverage.

Moderator: Francesca Lyman, Freelance Journalist

Dennis Creech, Executive Director, Southface Energy Institute
Denis Hayes, Developer, The Bullitt Center (and organizer of the first Earth Day)
Heather Langford, Director of LEED, U.S Green Building Council
Robin Rogers, Consultant, Community Housing Partners, and Founder and Editor,

Location: Meeting Room 4

Combined Sewer Overflows: The Gift That Keeps on Polluting

Older cities across the nation continue to spill vast quantities of raw sewage into local waterways, making them unsafe for swimming and recreation, and harming aquatic life, even as the EPA brings multi-billion-dollar enforcement actions, and ratepayers' bills shoot through the roof. One problem is antiquated sewer systems that were designed to overflow when it rains. We look into the latest CSO compliance actions, the role of green infrastructure and other stormwater pollution solutions. Coverage.

Moderator: James Bruggers, Reporter, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal

Jon Devine, Senior Attorney, Water Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
Gordon Garner, Vice President, Water Business Group, CH2MHILL
Scott Gordon, Associate Director, Office of Environmental Accountability, Region 4, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Location: Meeting Room 5

The BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster’s Silver Lining

While the oil spill did cause untold ecological damage, money collected to address this damage will fund significant environmental and economic restoration along the Gulf Coast as well as support science and social science research. Panelists represent agencies that already have been promised billions of dollars in criminal and civil fine money or outright payments from companies involved in one of the nation’s largest oil spills, with billions more likely on the way. Coverage.

Moderator: Mark Schleifstein, Environment Reporter, | The Times-Picayune

Justin Ehrenwerth, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council
Mike Sharp, Director, Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Maggie Walser, Senior Program Officer, Gulf of Mexico Program, National Academy of Sciences

Location: Meeting Room 11


Beverage Break and Exhibits

10:15 - 10:45 a.m.

Grab your coffee, tea, water or soda and and take this opportunity to see the exhibits. You'll meet new sources and come away with information about environmental innovations, journalism fellowships and much more. Don't forget to check the tables in the main hallway on your way back to sessions.

Location: Exhibit Hall D 


Concurrent Sessions 4

10:45 a.m. - Noon

Follow the Frackin' Money

Fracking has its supporters and detractors. It also puts enormous piles of money at stake from small-town America to Washington to Wall Street. While we won't discuss the arguments for or against fracking, our veteran reporters will help unravel fracking's financial pipelines: Whether money's influence may be seeping into fracking science, fueling political decisions, funding fracking's opponents, or spinning the lives and fortunes of small towns and rural areas. Coverage.

Download a resources list of past news stories focused on fracking and finance (PDF).

Moderator: Peter Dykstra, Publisher, Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate

Brian Grow, Enterprise Correspondent, Reuters
Don Hopey, Environment Reporter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Location: Meeting Rooms 7-8

Critters and Climate: Phenology, Impacts and Adaptation

Does the arrival of one swallow make a spring? Phenology, the study of nature's calendar (such as buds bursting, insects hatching, birds migrating), is chronicling major disruptions with a changing climate. Migrating birds are out of synch with the emergence of insects. Agriculture industries are beginning to realize that altering nature's rhythm can rob them of bees and other pollinators they need for bountiful harvests. This session explores how seasonal timing and distribution of species is critical to the success or failure of nature and humanity. This reemerging field of science is bustling with new discoveries and engaging growing communities of "citizen scientists" to track changing life cycles.

NOTE: This session was cancelled.

Moderator: Nancy Baron, Ocean Science Outreach Director, COMPASS

Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University
Susan Sachs, Education Coordinator, Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Jake Weltzin, Executive Director, USA National Phenology Network, U.S. Geological Survey

Location: Meeting Room 2

Climate & Weather: Is Juiced Up Severe Weather Already the New Normal?

The ink is barely dry on the 2013 IPCC impacts report as our panel reviews the latest that is known about climate change and current extremes. We'll discuss changes likely over the next 30 years, given locked-in warmth from past emissions. We'll examine these impacts at the backyard level so that your stories will be relevant to your readers. You'll also hear about research that may have uncovered the mechanics behind North America's changing weather. You'll leave this session better able to distinguish between the extremes we're most, and least, confident in forecasting, and why. Coverage.

Moderator: Nancy Gaarder, Reporter, Omaha World-Herald

Moetasim Ashfaq, Atmospheric Physicist and Computational Climate Scientist, Climate Change Science Institute Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Thomas Karl, Director, National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Chair, Subcommittee on Global Change Research, U.S. Global Change Research Program
Pam Knox, Agricultural Climatologist, Department of Crop and Soil Science, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia and former State Climatologist, Wisconsin
Thomas Mote, Professor and Head, Department of Geography, University of Georgia, and founding Director, UGA's Program in Atmospheric Sciences

Location: Meeting Room 3

Corporate Green: Sustainability Success Stories from the Business World

Genuine success stories in corporate sustainability are often overlooked. We've compiled panelists who have a story to tell us: Microsoft is implementing its own carbon fee; Interface has revolutionized its corporate culture and a product (carpets) known for not being eco-friendly, and is making headlines again this week; the Green Press Initiative and others have dramatically increased FSC paper sourcing and recycled newsprint content in North America. Can profit blend acceptably well with a bona fide environmental commitment? Even if that commitment costs money, why do they do it? Is it good PR or does it attract quality employees and loyal customers? Is it simply "the right thing to do?" Does the triple bottom line really work? Coverage.

Moderator: Jeffrey Burnside, Senior Investigative Reporter, KOMO 4 News, Seattle

TJ DiCaprio, Global Sustainability Director, Microsoft
Erin Meezan, Vice President/Sustainability, Interface
Tyson Miller, Director, Green Press Initiative & SEE Innovation

Location: Meeting Room 4

Sleuthing Dam, Impoundment and Levee Databases

It was news when a New Orleans levee failed after Katrina in 2005 — and when TVA's Kingston coal ash impoundment failed in 2008. Reporters can find a lot more potential stories in their own bailiwicks by using available databases: e.g., the National Inventory of Dams, Coal Impoundments LIS, National Levee Database, etc. Session will discuss how to use them — and also what they lack and barriers to their use. Laptops welcome. Coverage.

Presenter: Joseph A. Davis, Freelance Journalist and WatchDog Project Director/TipSheet Editor, Society of Environmental Journalists

Location: Meeting Room 5

Citizen Science: Empowering Awareness from Appalachia to Africa and Above

Accuracy. Empowerment. Education. More data. Motivation. Great things happen when non-scientists participate in gathering and querying scientific data. This session will feature three experts in citizen science with their recommendations for journalists who would like to cover or even start citizen-science projects. Examples and resources available in the session will involve water chemistry, big data and reporting networks. Coverage.

Moderator: Bill Kovarik, Professor, School of Communication, Radford University

Twange Kasoma, Assistant Professor of Communication, Radford University
David Manthos, Outreach & Communications Director, SkyTruth
Erin Savage, Water Quality Specialist, Appalachian Voices

Location: Meeting Room 11


Lunch and Plenary Session — Is Diversity (Bio and Otherwise) the Backbone of Sustainability?

Noon - 2:00 p.m.

As any ecologist will tell you, biodiversity is nature’s sustainability. From ecological biodiversity to crop rotation and hybrids to human diversity itself, we’ll examine how protecting diversity in all forms is insurance for our future. Ultimately, cities and all of humanity depend upon ecological sustainability for such bottom line needs as drinking water, pollination and arable land for food, forests for our homes, and countless natural resources for our high-energy and high-tech world. Can we have our sustainability and eat it too? Sponsored by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Coverage.

Moderator: M. ("Sanjan") Sanjayan, Lead Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, Television News Contributor and Film Documentarian

Shawn Carter, Chief Scientist, National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Climate Science Centers, U.S. Department of the Interior
Anna George, Director and Chief Research Scientist, Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute
Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University

Location: Chattanooga Convention Center Ballroom


Mini-Tour Adventures

2:15 - 5:30 p.m.

Sign up on-site for the tour of your choice at the SEJ Table beginning Wednesday afternoon.

Tours will begin loading outside the entrance of the Convention Center on Carter Street immediately following the Sat. lunch plenary, and depart promptly at 2:15 p.m. SEJ staff and volunteers will be there to help you find your bus – all staged and numbered like below. (Exit through doors near Meeting Room 1.)

Tours 5 and 6 have no bus, so meet up with your group holding the signs 5 and 6 out near the buses.

Spots have already been reserved for the tour leaders and speakers for each tour, i.e., tour leaders and speakers DO NOT sign the sheets!

  1. Russell Cave, Bats, and White Nose Syndrome
    Since 2007, white nose syndrome has killed an estimated 80% of insect-eating bats in the Northeastern U.S. At Russell Cave National Monument in northern Alabama, one of the oldest human habitation sites in eastern North America, researchers first identified WNS in 2012. The fungus irritates hibernating bats, causing them to use up winter fat reserves, and ultimately die of starvation. We'll hear from local researchers about whether warmer climates may have an impact on the disease, and what's being done to protect remaining bat populations. NOTE: Tour location was changed to Frick's Cave due to the government shutdown. Coverage.

    Tour Leaders: Jennifer Bogo, Popular Science; Karen Schaefer, Freelance Journalist and Independent Radio Producer

    Speakers: Brian Carver, Assistant Professor of Biology, Tennessee Technological University, and a member of the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network; Karen Marlowe, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and coordinator of the Alabama Bat Working Group; Mary Shew, National Park Service Ranger, Little River Canyon National Preserve; William Stone, Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology, Alabama A&M University

    Attendee Cap: 50

  2. The Birds and the Beetles: Volkswagens, Bird Watching, Wetlands, Solar and More
    Chattanooga's platinum-LEED-certified Volkswagen auto plant and solar farm sit on a once-contaminated brownfield left from a U.S. Army TNT production site. Now the area is home to wetland and grassland habitat and wildlife. This tour will introduce the VW plant, its solar panels and how the area was restored, and include opportunities for hiking and birding and hopefully a chance to see song birds migrating south, and rails, wrens and other marshland wildlife.

    Tour Leaders: Camilla Mortensen, Associate Editor and Reporter, Eugene Weekly; Ellis Smith, Business Reporter, Chattanooga Times Free Press

    Speakers: Kevin Calhoon, Bird Collection Supervisor, Tennessee Aquarium; Kaye Fiorello, Environmental Management Specialist, VW Chattanooga; David Gustashaw, Energy and Utility Specialist, VW Chattanooga

    Attendee Cap: 50

  3. Chattanooga’s Toxic Legacy Challenges
    Despite its many improvements, this city's industrial heritage leaves it with plenty of challenges. It recently received a $250 million EPA order to repair, and in some cases reinvent, its combined stormwater/sewer system. Chattanooga Creek, which runs through the heart of the city's old industrial corridor, still shows signs of millions of gallons of liquid coal tar that literally was ditched into it. Two miles of the creek became a multi-year Superfund site. When still more pollution was found, some of the fixes had to be first-ever-tried experiments. And just this spring, a downtown community on the comeback learned that what it thought was rich soil in their yards was really lead-laced fill dirt placed there decades ago. Another EPA cleanup has ensued. We'll tour these areas and see some of the changes and ongoing work. The 1.72-acre Main Terrain is part park, part art, part fitness center and part stormwater detention pond on what once was a brownfield. Test your prowess at wall climbing, ring swinging, steel spinning and more.

    Tour Leaders: Randy Lee Loftis, Environmental Writer, The Dallas Morning News; Pam Sohn, Times Opinion Page Editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press

    Speakers: Perry Gaughan, On-Site Coordinator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Troy Keith, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation; Bill Payne, Chattanooga City Engineer

    Attendee Cap: 50

  4. Go to Nuclear Plant School
    How do you refuel and maintain a Boiling Water nuclear reactor? Find out at Westinghouse Electric Company’s training facility beside the Tennessee River, just 15 minutes from the Chattanooga convention center. The mockup reactor includes a full-scale BWR cavity with vessel, spent fuel pool and refueling bridge. Westinghouse employees and others train here. The company’s technology is the basis for more than 40 percent of the world's operating nuclear plants, including 60 percent of those in this country.

    Tour Leaders: Tony Davis, Arizona Daily Star; Anne Paine, recently retired from The Tennessean in Nashville

    Speakers: Jim Ford, Engineer, Westinghouse; Hugo Winterhalter, Engineer, Westinghouse

    Attendee Cap: Only 20 spots are available and sign-up is required by Wednesday (Oct. 2). Email your name, nationality and affiliation to Non-US citizens will need to fill out an international visitors form and send a copy of their passport.

  5. Conservation Success Story: Cruise Through the Tennessee River Gorge
    Board the River Gorge Explorer for an informative trip through the "Grand Canyon of the Tennessee." The two-hour cruise will take participants from downtown Chattanooga past the foot of Lookout Mountain and into the protected habitat of the Tennessee River Gorge. Guides from the Tennessee Aquarium and Tennessee River Gorge Trust will point out wildlife and historic Civil War points of interest, as well as share the story of how a grassroots effort led to the protection of more than 27,000 biologically diverse acres.

    Tour Leaders: Erica Peterson, Environment Reporter, WFPL, Louisville Public Radio; Lana Straub, Freelance Journalist

    Speakers: Thom Benson, Spokesman, Tennessee Aquarium; Jim Brown, Founding Member, Tennessee River Gorge Trust; John Dever, Naturalist, Tennessee Aquarium

    Attendee Cap: 28 (no bus for this tour, meet up with tour leaders holding the 5 sign near bus staging)

  6. Biking and Urban Sustainability
    Many cities are trying to weave biking programs into their urban transportation plans. Chattanooga is making a big attempt, with an ambitious bike share program. This tour offers a closer look and listen — the SEJ way! — on free bikes (and helmets) as we ride through downtown, the waterfront and across the Tennessee River via the historic Walnut Street Bridge to Coolidge Park.

    Tour Leaders: Chuck Quirmbach, Environment Reporter/Producer, Wisconsin Public Radio; Sarah Webb, Freelance Journalist

    Speakers: Stefanie deOlloqui, Associate Director, Active Living & Transportation Network, Outdoor Chattanooga; Philip Pugliese, Director, Active Living & Transportation Network, Outdoor Chattanooga

    Attendee Cap: 18 (no bus for this tour, meet up with tour leaders holding the 6 sign near bus staging)


SEJ Board Meeting

3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
All SEJ members are welcome to attend the meeting of SEJ's board of directors. See the draft agenda (you'll need your log-in information).

Location: Chattanooga Convention Center Ballroom


Exhibits Last Look

Exhibits will remain open till about 4:00 p.m. so if you didn't have a chance to collect the information there, and you're not going on a mini-tour, now's your chance. Talk to experts, test-drive alternative-fuel vehicles, add to your source list, gather potential stories. 

Location: Exhibit Hall D and main hallway


Beat Dinners and Music and Dancing at River Rocks Festival

7:00 - 11:00 p.m.

First we’ll send y’all out and about to great restaurants across downtown Chattanooga for small-group discussions on journalism and environmental issues. Then we’ll meet up later for the party… River Rocks is a unique and distinctive outdoor festival celebrating the incomparable natural resources of the Tennessee Valley, the health benefits of the activities they inspire and Chattanooga’s commitment to environmental stewardship and land conservation. With 90 events over 10 days, there’s something for everyone — whether it’s adventure sports, live music, hot air balloons, or scaling down a 20-story building — River Rocks can’t be beat. We’ll meet up at the festival about 9:00 p.m. for music and dancing.

Following dinner, about 9:00 p.m., meet up with fellow conference goers at Ross’ Landing, ground zero for music and dancing. Also consult your map of downtown Chattanooga and your Chattanooga Shuttle Map in your conference packet.

ADVANCE SIGN-UP REQUIRED! Sign up at the SEJ Table for the dinner of your choice, or pick a topic yourself and lead a beat dinner (see below for details).

LOGISTICS: For directions to your restaurant, consult the free electric shuttle map (in your conference bag or available at the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau table across from registration). All restaurants are either walkable from the conference hotels or are near the shuttle route. You can also use the city’s bike rental program if there is a drop-off near your restaurant. Ask your hotel front desk for maps or for help with directions. You can also call the restaurant (see numbers below) or your dinner organizer (see your beat dinner flyer). If all else fails contact Randi Ross at 954-559-3213 for assistance.


  1. What’s the Fuss About Fracking?
    (Maximum 30 - 35)
    Is the oil and natural gas boom exploding in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Texas and Colorado spreading into the South? Join Tennessee Sierra Club conservation chair Scott Banbury and journalist Bobby Magill, a science writer for Climate Central and former environment reporter for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, for a discussion about how fracking has transformed the West and how it could affect Tennessee.
    • Organizer: Bobby Magill, Climate Central
    • Speaker: Scott Banbury, Sierra Club
    • Restaurant: 212 Market, 212 Market Street, (423) 265-1212
  2. E-Book Publishing
    (Maximum 20)
    How can environmental journalists harness free tools to publish e-books? Caroline D'Angelo leads a discussion on best practices in working with schools, e-publishers and more.
    • Organizer: Caroline D’Angelo, Social Media and E-Books Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
    • Restaurant: Mellow Mushroom, 205 Broad Street, (423) 266-5564
  3. SEJ and the World: What SEJ Can Do for International Members (and Vice Versa)
    (Maximum 30 - 35)
    As the world shrinks, SEJ’s international membership could expand. But how can the organization best meet the needs of its members outside North America? And what are some promising ways for international reporters to contribute to SEJ’s activities? Join reporters from Africa, Asia and the U.S. to brainstorm creative ideas for overcoming language barriers, finding funding and increasing the membership base while making new friends in faraway places.
    • Organizer: Meaghan Parker, Wilson Center
    • Moderator: Bill Kovarik, Radford University
    • Speakers: Several International Journalists
    • Restaurant: Terramae Appalachian Bistro, 120 East 10th Street, (423) 710-2925
  4. Sustainable Living and the Sharing Economy
    (Maximum 12)
    The sharing economy been called an “unstoppable” trend by Forbes. TIME Magazine called collaborative consumption “one of 10 ideas that will change the world.” But what do these terms really mean, and how are they helping communities and businesses become more sustainable? Join this beat dinner to chat about the growth of the sharing economy, its environmental implications and the best resources for informed coverage.
    • Organizer: Beth Buczynski, Author, Sustainable Living and the Sharing Economy
    • Restaurant: Blacksmith’s Bistro and Bar, 809 Market Street, (423) 702-5461
  5. Sustainability: How Journalism Is Dropping the Ball
    (Maximum 12)
    American news reporting is dominated by stories that blindly reinforce an unsustainable status quo, accepting as normal a host of untenable practices. Even more damaging is what the media don’t report — the thousands of stories that are never done about the fact that every day, humans consume more resources than the Earth can permanently produce, generate more waste than it can properly absorb and fail to see a thing wrong with any of it. The media’s failure to focus on sustainability is fast becoming their greatest shame.
    • Organizers: Marc Seamon, Youngstown State University; Sara Shipley Hiles, University of Missouri
    • Restaurant: Public House, 1110 Market Street, (423) 266-3366
  6. Great Lakes Table
    (Maximum 10)
    As SEJ gathers along the Tennessee River, this dinner diverts your thoughts just a little ways north, to the Great Lakes Basin. Catch up on the latest doings and big stories involving the Lakes.
    • Organizer: Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio
    • Restaurant: Meeting Place, 1278 Market Street, (423) 266-4400
  7. Institutes for Journalism and Natural Resources
    (Maximum 25 - 30)
    If you’re an IJNR Fellow, a friend of IJNR, or just want to find out more about our expedition-style learning programs, come have a seat! The IJNR staff will be on hand to talk about this year’s programs and what’s planned for 2014 and beyond.
    • Organizers: Dave Spratt and Melissa Mylchreest
    • Restaurant: North Shore Grill, 16 Frazier Avenue, (423) 757-2000


Feeling Passionate about another topic? Form your own Beat Dinner!

The good news is that Chattanooga is a happening town, which in part is why we’re here. The bad news is that it makes a dinner reservation difficult to find for Saturday night. That’s why we’ve booked reservations at four restaurants listed below. If you have a topic you don’t see and want to form your own beat dinner, you can pick from one of the following fine restaurants:

  • Alleia: 25 East Main Street – (423) 305-6990 – seats up to 15 people
  • Community Pie: 850 Market Street – (423) 486-1743 – seats up to 12 people
  • Riverside Food Works: 205 Manufacturer’s Road – (423) 752-8129 – seats up to 16 people
  • Elemental: 313 Manufacturer’s Road – (423) 648-9160 – seats up to 12 people

Put your name and topic on one of the four sign-up sheets for the above restaurants and include your cell phone number for attendees to call and inquire for more information.

Following dinner, we plan to meet up for music and dancing at Ross' Landing near the Aquarium. We'll make announcements from the podium at the Saturday lunch about specifics for this event.



Wednesday, October 2
Thursday, October 3
Friday, October 4
Sunday, October 6