SEJ's 24th Annual Conference Agenda — Friday and Saturday


Covering Disasters Plenary
Concurrent Sessions
Network Lunch and Beat Dinners
Risk and Resilience Plenary
Rock 'n' Bowl Party



Agenda Registration Lodging/Travel Advertise/Exhibit Environmental News About New Orleans


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 Hilton New Orleans Riverside,
Two Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130 (504) 561-0500, unless otherwise indicated.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Opening Plenary

Covering Disasters: Getting the Story and Staying Alive

The Lake Borgne storm surge barrier floodwall, post-Katrina, viewed from space. Photo courtesy Army Corps of Engineers.

From parachuting in and leaving, to living there and staying, we’ll explore the full spectrum of news coverage of major disasters and consider ways reporters can better cooperate to both deliver the news and stay safe. This panel of journalists will share their stories from past disasters and emergencies, both domestic and international, and their thoughts on how we can all do a better job.


Network Lunch

Choose a discussion table on a wide range of timely topics and reporting tips, or join a breakout session with lively newsmakers. Topics will be posted here when available.


Beat Dinners

Back to the scene of the crime... SEJ’s beat dinners began at the New Orleans conference in 2003 and they’ve remained popular ever since. New Orleans is home to countless renowned restaurants and a crockpot full of celebrity chefs. We’ll get you out and about to some of the Crescent City’s finest and to some affordable local treasures. Check back here beginning in August for options. Sign up on site for the topic and restaurant of your choice.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lunch and Plenary Session

Real Risk and Resilience in a Climate-Changed World

From Katrina to Sandy, polar melting to equatorial desertification, we’ll explore how climate change will increase and alter environmental risks in the near future. A panel of experts will discuss governments’ and industries’ plans to prepare for more frequent and more severe natural disasters, and how to minimize the environmental effects of energy extraction, whether from shale formations or deep drilling in the Gulf, with a special focus on vulnerable coastal cities like New Orleans.


Mini-Tour Adventures

Sign up on-site beginning Wednesday afternoon for SEJ’s popular mini-tours. Options this year may include: Kayaking and swamp hikes; green buildings and urban gardening; lead and environmental justice; biking The Big Easy; environmental impacts of filmmaking; Endangered Species Breeding Center; newsroom; scrap yards and recycling; Aquarium and Insectarium.


SEJ Party at the Rock 'n' Bowl

A New Orleans institution for decades, and now at a new location, this place has something for everyone. Come party with friends Saturday night at the world-famous "Rock 'n' Bowl" — the only place in New Orleans where you can bowl, dance, and eat good food, all at the same time. We’ll have ten lanes open for bowling, a kick-ass band, good New Orleans’ style fare and great conversation. Pre-registration and $35 fee required.




Concurrent Sessions (Friday and Saturday)



  • FOI and Right-to-Know Workshop
  • EPA Open Mike: Get Your Questions and Comments Ready
  • Transom Trolling: Prying Information from Federal Agencies
  • Coffee-shop Journalism: How Do Editors and Writers Remain Connected?
  • Who’s Covering the Environment Today? From Al Jazeera’s Rise to Newspapers’ Demise
  • Multimedia Workshop: Tips on Using iPhones, Recorders, Video Cameras
  • Gadgets and Crowdsourcing: Citizen Journalism Combines with New Tools
  • Seed-by-Seed: Funding the Freelance Life
  • Collaboration: Marrying Environmental Research with Environment Journalism
  • Making Sustainability Stick: Communicating Complex Topics Without Losing Your Audience
  • Environment Journalism Revolution in the Classroom
  • Back to School: Fellowships and MOOCs, or What to Do with Your Unpaid Furloughs
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser and La. Gov. Bobby Jindal tour through the Roseau Grasses that mark the coastline of Southeast Louisiana at Pass a Loutre at the mouth of the Mississippi River where oil has washed ashore, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. © Photo Ted Jackson, | The Times-Picayune.


  • Extreme Weather and Hurricane Science: Improving Forecasts
  • Everglades Restoration Update: Billions Spent, What Did We Get?
  • Is Sustainable Seafood an Oxymoron? From Shrimp Farming to Jellyfish Harvesting
  • BP Spill – The Environment: Impacts on Wildlife, Wetlands, and Seafood Safety
  • BP Spill – The Restoration: How Are Billions of Dollars Being Spent?
  • BP Spill – The People: Health Studies and Claims Programs


  • Levee Certification: As Army Corps Nears Completion, Who Loses Insurance?
  • Water Wars: From California’s Drought, to Texas’ Growth, to Atlanta’s Thirst
  • Can’t Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em: “Gulf” Shrimp from Asia, Asian Carp, Nutria, Formosan Termites
  • Endangered Species: If We Can’t Save Charismatic Megafauna, What Can We Save?


  • New Chemicals: Whither TSCA Reform? REACH? What’s in Your Drinking Water?
  • Clean Air Act: Update on Rule Changes and Legal Challenges
  • BP Spill – The Science Windfall: NSF Basic Research on Cleanup Technology
  • 21st Century Waste: Fracking, Leaking Landfills, Recycling, Shipbreaking


  • Nuclear Power in Fukushima’s Wake
  • Oil Truckin’ and Pipin’: What’s Happening in Your Backyard?
  • Southern Forest Health: Where Does Biomass Energy Fit In?
  • ObamaAir: Greenhouse Gases, Clean Coal, Pollution Trading and Carbon Caps


  • Feeding Eight Billion People in a Warming World
  • Melting Arctic and Increased Industrial Development
  • Music and the Environment: How Musicians Are Saving New Orleans
  • Changing Role of Religious Groups in the Environmental Movement
  • Children’s Environmental Health: Latest Trends
  • Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation and Geoengineering: What’s Being Done, Can Be Done, Won’t Be Done?

Wednesday, September 3
Thursday, September 3
Sunday, September 7