SEJ Members Publish E-books, Change Jobs, Gain Awards

September 15, 2012

Media on the Move


Last fall Mark Pendergrast self-published an e-book and print-on-demand paperback called Japan’s Tipping Point: Crucial Choices in the Post-Fukushima World. “I’m glad I did, because otherwise my amazing experience and conclusions from my sojourn in Japan would have pretty much served as interesting dinner-table conversation,” he said. “In the current publishing environment, I doubt that it would have gotten into print.”  Having published five critically acclaimed books with major trade publishers previously, he saw this new approach as his best option for telling an important story about Japan’s renewable energy efforts.

Mark Schleifstein is joining the Nola Media Group, Advance Publications’ new online corporation, following the decision to turn The Times-Picayune into a Wednesday, Friday, Sunday publication. Most news reporting assets are being shifted to the new company to publish online at, while a separate company —  Advance Central Services Louisiana — will continue to publish the print edition. Schleifstein, who has worked for The Times-Picayune for 28 years, will continue to report on the environment, levees and hurricanes on

Jonathan Thompson has returned full-time to High Country News as a senior editor, based out of Durango, Colo. He will cover a wide range of environmental, economic and cultural issues, with an emphasis on how communities are digging out of the recession and what the implications are for the environment.

In addition to Camilla Mortensen’s duties as a reporter covering the environment and the county beat for the Oregon altweekly Eugene Weekly, she was promoted to associate editor this spring. She’s still keeping up with her other career as a folklorist, teaching a course on Folklore and Journalism at the University of Oregon this winter.

News reporter Chuck Quirmbach has been conferred the “Distinguished” prefix by the University of Wisconsin-Extension, the university division that operates Wisconsin Public Radio, who employs him.

After four years running Science News for Kids, Janet Raloff has been formally confirmed as its editor. The online publication reaches some 1.3 million unique visitors a year. In addition she is still senior editor of Science News, which has a substantially bigger reach with its separate print, web and iPad editions. She reports: “I’ve been in the same shop since the late Cretaceous — i.e., 2012 marks my 35th anniversary at Science News, a publication that itself turned 90 in March.”

Kathie Florsheim continues photographing a summer community on the Rhode Island coast for a project she’s headed up since about 2005. Her team of geologists, architects, a GIS specialist and a filmmaker has received a $2500 angel grant from the Boston Foundation for a documentary film and gallery show exploring how the community responds to a receding coastline.

Nate Seltenrich won first place in the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s 2012 AltWeekly Awards, short-form news story category (circulation under 50,000), for three environmental news stories written for the East Bay Express in Oakland, CA. This contest includes work from weekly newspapers across the United States and Canada.

Robert McClure has been promoted to executive director of InvestigateWest, a Seattle-based journalism studio covering the Pacific Northwest with an emphasis on the environment, public health and government integrity. With other former Seattle Post-Intelligencer journalists, he was a co-founder of InvestigateWest in 2009. InvestigateWest’s work has appeared in a number of outlets including, the Seattle Times, KUOW FM, KCTS 9 television and Conservation magazine.

Tara Waters Lumpkin is now Editor-in-Chief of IZILWANE. IZILWANE is a participatory, online, multimedia platform that educates about the biodiversity crisis, sixth extinction, and human ecology. The ezine focuses on changing how humans perceive themselves in relationship with other species and ecosystems. Individuals (including youth) from around the world are trained, virtually and in person, by a team of writers, photographers, and videographers to be “citizen ecoreporters.” The all-volunteer project is also looking for contributors and for editors, outreach assistants, grant researchers and others interested in participating.

Brett Israel joined the full-time staff of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate in March as Senior Editor/Staff Writer.  Brett was previously a writer for the website Our Amazing Planet and a part-time researcher/contributor for EHN and TDC.

He is one of two senior editors who oversee the daily aggregation published by EHN, and he’ll pitch in as EHN and TDC increase their original reporting content.

The Southern Environmental Law Center awarded SEJ member Bruce Henderson this year’s Phillip D. Reed Memorial Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment in the Journalism category. The veteran environmental journalist won for “Climate of Change: The Reshaping of North Carolina,”published in The Charlotte Observer. He and the book winner receive a $1,000 prize and an award.

Sara Shipley Hiles is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri’s journalism school this year. She will be part of the magazine faculty, teaching writing, science/health/environmental journalism and convergence classes, and she will also oversee student journalism projects. Previously a reporter in St. Louis, New Orleans and elsewhere, she has been teaching journalism for six years.

Jeff Turrentine has been named the new articles editor at OnEarth magazine, where he'll be assigning and editing both features and front-of-the-book pieces as well as contributing to the web version of the magazine, at Prior to joining OnEarth, Jeff was a senior editor at Architectural Digest and a staff writer for The Washington Post. He is also a book and pop-culture critic whose work has appeared frequently in The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post and Slate.

Longtime SEJ member John Ryan of Seattle has won the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for Public Service in Radio Journalism for his KUOW-FM series, “Danger at Work.”

Canadian freelancer Stephen Leahy wrote the chapter on covering the environment for A Reporter’s Guide to Covering Millennium Development Goals published by the International Press Institute in Vienna. He also finished an assignment with National Geographic in Australia and covered the Earth Summit (RIO+20) in Rio de Janeiro for the Inter Press News Service (IPS), a global newswire based in Rome. (Where’s Stephen now?)

John Moir received the first-place award for the 2012 Outstanding Profile Article from the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Moir’s article, “The Chameleon,” appeared in the Washington Post’s Sunday magazine and tells the story of a US Fish & Wildlife Service undercover agent who works to save endangered species. The award was presented at the ASJA conference in New York City in April.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn, staff writer for The News-Herald in Lake County, Ohio, recently captured seven Craft Improvement Awards from the Outdoor Writers of Ohio, the country’s oldest state outdoors journalism group. Frischkorn earned three first-place awards, including the group’s prestigious Atzenhoefer Award for Environmental Writing for his story on how a high school teacher and a team of his students are using trails to track the activities of black bears in Geauga County, Ohio.

Honolulu freelancer Carolyn Lee was awarded a grant to defray expenses to go to the UNITY convention in August in Las Vegas, where she hopes to learn about setting up and funding an online news start-up, and obtaining freelance work for national publications.

Elizabeth Grossman and Valerie Brown received media fellowships to attend the Third International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World in Monterey, California Sept. 23-27. Much of the program is designed to increase connections between scientists and journalists.

In addition to her part-time position with Environmental Health Sciences, Miranda Spencer is a paid blogger for a new news website called “Shale Reporter”. She writes on community/human impacts of Marcellus shale development and natural gas “fracking.”

Emily Gertz’s book Environmental Monitoring with Arduino, coauthored with Wired Magazine’s Patrick Di Justo, has been published by O’Reilly Media’s Maker Press imprint, which offers both print and e-book options to readers.  The book features instructions for building and programming gadgets that measure and collect data on different environmental conditions, including background radiation, noise pollution, and dissolved solids in water.

Silver Donald Cameron was appointed to the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honor. “I am astonished, thrilled and humbled — and entirely in the dark about how all this came about and who might have nominated me,” said Cameron, who was noted for his work as journalist, writer, educator and community activist. Just 2,000 Canadians hold the honor.

Judy Fahys is environment reporter at The Salt Lake Tribune. Send an email about your latest accomplishment or career shift to

* From the quarterly newsletter SEJournal, Summer/Fall 2012. Each new issue of SEJournal is available to members and subscribers only; find subscription information here or learn how to join SEJ. Past issues are archived for the public here.

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