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SEJournal Online is the weekly digital news magazine of the Society of Environmental Journalists. SEJ members are automatically subscribed. Non-members may subscribe using the link below. Meanwhile, learn more about SEJournal Online. And send questions, comments, story ideas, articles, news briefs and tips to Editor Adam Glenn at sejournaleditor@sej.org.

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September 23, 2020

  • Although the realities of the pandemic may mean fewer state and local ballot measures in the upcoming election — and the presidential contest is drawing much of the spotlight — they can still be potentially fruitful stories for reporters willing to seek them out. Here are eight top ways to track this year’s environment and energy ballot measures, from the latest Reporter’s Toolbox.

  • More revelations of Trump administration duplicity on the science front, per the new WatchDog opinion column, which reports on a scoop about political appointees trying to warp weekly public health data to ensure they don’t undercut Trump’s political messaging. Oh, and Bob Woodward’s new book affirming the president knew of COVID-19’s dangers early on, but deliberately played them down.

September 16, 2020

  • A Trump administration push to allow trains to carry liquified natural gas raises larger concerns about allowing hazardous materials to be carried around the United States by rail, per the latest TipSheet. Get the latest on the LNG transport plan, along with the backstory about the risks of numerous other rail hazmat, plus story ideas and reporting resources.

  • Bird brains, despite the dictum, are anything but deficient. In fact, a new book by science and nature writer Jennifer Ackerman reveals how scientists, driven by rising diversity in their own ranks and by the leverage of new technologies, are gaining a dramatically new understanding of the complexities of bird behavior. BookShelf has a review of “The Bird Way.”

September 9, 2020

  • A key Democratic primary win in Massachusetts last week appears to portend a weather change in climate politics, with youth groups helping propel the issue into November’s polling places. Reporter’s Toolbox helps environmental journalists cover the shift by cataloging some of the biggest youth climate activist groups with local chapters and large geographic reach.

  • It took teams of journalists to produce an award-winning series of reports digging into environment and climate health effects of massive oil and natural gas production in the Southwestern United States. Our latest Inside Story talks with Jamie Smith Hopkins of the Center for Public Integrity about the benefits of reporting a big story jointly and the project’s sometimes surprising findings.

  • In these downside-up days of contagion, climate disasters and social convulsions, being a journalism educator presents some seriously serious challenges. But in this EJ Academy back-to-school guide, pedagogical pilot Bernardo Motta offers seven tips to manage the mess. Among the advice: You are not an island. And everything will fail … and that’s a good thing.

August 26, 2020

  • Ammonium nitrate, the explosive agricultural fertilizer that blew up in Lebanon this month,  killing dozens and severely damaging Beirut’s center, is stored by the thousands of tons all over the United States. But regulatory blindspots and secretive information policies mean few know exactly where. Backgrounder reviews the chemical’s oversight regime — and its gaps — and has ideas for reporting from your community.

  • Efforts to bury pandemic data is a story environmental journalists best keep an eye on, argues the new WatchDog opinion column. That’s partly because of the connection between the novel coronavirus and climate change, air pollution and environmental justice. But also because it echoes a deepening rejection of science that’s long been part of the environment beat. 

  • They’ve long been a staple of the news business. But now, with the pandemic continuing to keep journalists from their subjects, remote video interviews have become an essential tool. And even newbie video reporters can quickly learn the basics. Science video producer Eli Kintisch shares a quick eight-step remote video setup and some simple tricks of the trade, in this SEJournal how-to.

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