Inside Story

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Inside Story is a regular question-and-answer feature of SEJournal Online in which we hear from award-winning journalists about the behind-the-scenes practices, ideas and breakthroughs that led to their best work, and their advice to other journalists about how to excel.

For questions and comments, or to suggest future Inside Story features, email Inside Story Co-Editor Rocky Kistner at sejournaleditor@sej.org.

And if you're interesting in joining the SEJournal volunteer editor staff, including as a co-editor of Inside Story, contact Editor Adam Glenn at sejournaleditor@sej.org.

Also be sure to check out past winners of the Society of Environmental Journalists’ Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment. Here's the list of winners from 202220212020 and 2019.

February 8, 2023

  • Many were skeptical that the complex problem of industry influence on regulatory decisions could be understood, let alone explained. But in her deeply reported story on the pesticide industry, journalist Sharon Lerner broke through those barriers with another award-winning story, showing how small, technical decisions can have big consequences. In the latest Inside Story, she shares her approach and lessons learned.

January 11, 2023

  • If you’re looking to engage key constituencies for your journalism — whether editors, sources, students or people who have been marginalized — a new set of short videos from award-winning journalists (like KESQ's Angela Chen, at left) can serve as a helpful resource. Inside Story has a roadmap of how to make smart use of these video nuggets to, for instance, convince newsroom powerbrokers to give you more time and support for ambitious stories.

November 9, 2022

  • Writer Noah Gallagher Shannon followed scientists into the heart of the megastorms ravaging an agricultural region in Argentina, and in the process learned not just about their high-risk fieldwork and what these massive thunderstorms might tell us about the storms of the future in the United States, but also their impact on affected communities. Find out about his reporting experience in this Inside Story Q&A.

October 5, 2022

  • Electric utilities may sound like a wonky beat, but in the hands of L.A. Times’ Sammy Roth, it became an opportunity to weave together seemingly dry, technical subject matter into a series of award-winning stories on natural gas that captured flash points for climate change, communities of color and energy politics. Roth shares his reporting experience in the latest Inside Story Q&A.

August 24, 2022

  • Rare parrots, captured in the wild and relocated to a European zoo, are at the heart of an award-winning feature that explores the role of private actors in conservation. Journalist Brendan Borrell (pictured, left) talks about the ethical concerns raised by the controversial figure at the heart of his Audubon Magazine piece, and offers advice on making the most of having an investigation scooped.

July 13, 2022

  • As Brazil’s wetlands burned and as the country illegally shipped wood from the Amazon and scaled back environmental enforcement amid the pandemic, award-winning journalist Jake Spring of Reuters was there, telling tough, sometimes dangerous stories. Spring shares insights into his “just the facts” reporting, including the surprises and the lessons, and offers some practical advice in this Inside Story Q&A.

June 8, 2022

  • The challenges of sustainable aquaculture are at the heart of an extensive reporting project recognized in the Society of Environmental Journalists’ most recent round of reporting awards. In this Inside Story Q&A, Hakai Magazine’s founding editor, Jude Isabella (pictured at left), and author Brian Payton share insights into the series, which looks closely at the industry and its environmental costs.

May 11, 2022

  • A casual query from an editor prompted an investigative reporter to pair up with a data journalism reporter at a partner news organization to dig into the risks that thousands of dry oil wells across California posed to surrounding communities, including many low-income Latino neighborhoods. How the resulting award-winning series came together, in an Inside Story Q&A with reporter Mark Olalde.

April 13, 2022

March 16, 2022

  • Sweeping, data-driven reporting on the impact of the Trump White House on environment policy won high praise for a Washington Post reporting team that took first prize for beat reporting in the most recent Society of Environmental Journalists’ reporting awards. Find out how award winners Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and John Muyskens approached this vast topic, in the new Inside Story Q&A.

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