New Blogs, Awards and Prize-Winning Books

October 15, 2010

Media on the Move


The Deepwater Horizon oil spill provided SEJ's members with infinite opportunities to investigate, explore and elucidate one of the most devastating environmental catastrophes of our time.

Among the innovations arising from the spill: SEJ's Joe Davis and a small team of enablers launched a blog dedicated to news about the blowout and information sources to help environmental writers cover it. SEJ has taken this orphan under its wing, and now some funders may want to support it.

Right now, Joe is doing this in his garage (figuratively) in his spare time. With luck, he hopes to expand it soon to a new platform, bring in lots of citizen journalists, and transform the news media.

"Stay tuned," Davis says. "This story ain't going away soon."

SEJ members reported many new honors and enterprises that spanned the most remote reaches of Earth to its busiest cities.

Heather Dewar is editing a new weekly zine for Urbanite magazine focusing on urban ecology — the science and the social movement. The zine, which launched July 5, focuses on Baltimore but will include some national stories. She would like to hear from other SEJ members covering urban ecology:

Rae Tyson, SEJ founding vice president, has joined the staff of Environmental Health News. The move reunites Tyson with former SEJ board member Marla Cone, editor-in-chief of EHN.

Michael Casey has moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates to become the Gulf correspondent for The Associated Press. He'll cover sports, news and environment across the Middle East. Previously, he was the AP's regional environment correspondent for Asia based in Bangkok, Thailand. He served earlier as an AP correspondent in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Gustave Axelson recently learned that his story about northern goshawks in Minnesota, "The Alpha Accipiter," is one of 100 selected for Houghton Mifflin's "The Best American Science & Nature Writing 2010" . Axelson noted that it's a coup for the donation-funded Minnesota Conservation magazine to make the cut, since pieces from big-name publications typically dominate the anthology. He also had a tip for anyone who might hazard into this raptor's turf. "Yes, goshawks really do attack when you step into their nesting territory," said Axelson. "Next time (if there is one), I'm wearing a bike helmet."

Magazine editor and freelancer Craig Saunders began a new Media on the Move gig teaching a new course in conventional and on-screen proofreading at Ryerson University in Toronto. Last year, he created the first course of its kind in Canada, at George Brown College.

Dan Sullivan was recently named managing editor of BioCycle magazine. The publication — whose tagline is "Advancing composting, organics recycling and renewable energy" is in its 51st year and is based in Emmaus, PA. Formerly with the Rodale Institute's webzine, where he was senior editor, and Rodale Inc.'s Organic Gardening magazine, he graduated May 15 with a master's degree in environmental studies (MSES) from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, where SEJ member environmental communications professor Ron Steffens was his thesis advisor.

Freelance writer and editor Erica Gies was the Vermont Law School energy fellow for the summer session.

Emily Gertz has been selected as a 2010 Ocean Science Journalism Fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She'll attend the formal program from September 12- 18, and may stay for the optional second week to do some independent reporting.

Adrianne Appel has been awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT for the 2010-2011 academic year. Her egghead gene will be fully expressed, as she studies environmental and health topics.

Canadian author Alanna Mitchell was the first book author to win the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment for her book Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis, published in Canada by McClelland & Stewart and by The University of Chicago Press in the U.S. She is also the first Canadian to receive the honor, which includes an award of $75,000 in 2010.

"An engaging work, Sea Sick clearly and eloquently explains the specific dangers facing global marine ecosystems," said Sunshine Menezes, executive director of the Metcalf Institute and Grantham Prize administrator. "Mitchell faced her own demons to craft a story that showcases marine science — and scientists — in a balanced, accurate, and poetic fashion. " 

This year, the Grantham Prize committee also gave three Awards of Special Merit, each offering a $5,000 cash prize. One went to Dan Egan of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for his chronicles of the environmental challenges affecting the Great Lakes; Cleo Paskal, author of Global Warring, which examines the dire global security and geopolitical implications of climate change; and Hedrick Smith Productions for the PBS Frontline documentary "Poisoned Waters," which details America's failure to ensure the health of its waterways.

Deborah Fryer's documentary film about Parkinson's — SHAKEN: Journey into the Mind of a Parkinson's Patient — has recently won 2 Telly Awards (1 in the Documentary category and 1 in the Education category); it also won a People's Telly Award, and received 2 Gold Communicator Awards from the International Academy of the Visual Arts (again in the Doc and Education categories). Fryer is working on a 20th anniversary video for the "I Have A Dream" Foundation, which focuses on education for low-income children, and has a feature film in production about stem cells and neuroplasticity.

Judy Fahys is enviornmental reporter at The Salt Lake Tribune and can be contacted at

*From the quarterly newsletter SEJournal, Fall 2010 issue.

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