Beat Basics

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Beat Basics is a quarterly feature to provide journalists with the foundations to cover essential environmental issues. Each Beat Basics feature reviews key concepts on a specific environmental topic and offers story ideas and resources to help with coverage. For questions or comments, or to suggest future Beat Basics, email the SEJournal Online editor at

March 7, 2017

  • Wondering what WOTUS is? Or how the Clean Water Rule relates to the Clean Water Act and to the Section 404 permitting program meant to prevent the destruction of U.S. wetlands? Our Beat Basics column explains the history and background of the rule to help you cover White House, EPA and court action likely ahead.

June 1, 2016

October 15, 2014

  • In this excerpt from the latest issue of SEJournal (Fall), Bobby Magill's special report offers coverage basics and questions to ask when you are reporting on the spread of shale oil and gas development.

October 15, 2013

  • This special report on climate change adaptation will help environmental journalists better understand and cover this growing topic. Top-notch beat reporters share how to best get at the nuts and bolts of adaptation in coastal communities and agricultural ones, a leading communications thinker shares insights into the “message” of adaptation, and we provide snapshots of a few of the many noteworthy adaptation projects, as well as the special challenges faced in one developing nation.

July 15, 2013