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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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May 4, 2022

  • A recent study of global cropland expansion highlights several trends that are ripe with environmental news stories. One finding: New farm fields have taken over an area the size of Texas and California combined since the start of the century, an expansion primarily affecting biodiversity-rich natural ecosystems, with Africa leading the cropland boom. Freelancer Gabriel Popkin explores the latest data and the reporting possibilities.

  • The public’s right to know about toxic and hazardous chemicals is currently limited by trade secret rules that no longer serve any true purpose, argues the new WatchDog Opinion column. And a pending federal rulemaking is an opportunity for journalists to make the case to draw back the curtain, for the sake of their reporting and so that they can better cover their communities’ risks.

April 27, 2022

  • An annual list of endangered rivers is out, but with it the journalism just begins, since there are numerous troubled river systems, most likely including one near you. The latest TipSheet details how the endangered river list can serve as a template for local reporting and provides story ideas, questions to ask and resources to tap for your coverage.

  • There was a moment within living memory when Democrats and Republicans came together — in a time of extraordinary political turmoil — to pass landmark legislation to clean U.S. waters, limit toxic substances and pesticides, and empower the government to protect the environment. BookShelf’s Nano Riley reviews a new book that explores that time, and which speculates on why things have changed.

April 20, 2022

  • A chance encounter with a social media post from a retired government official led environmental journalist Sharon Oosthoek on a virtual, pandemic-era journey deep into the waters of Lake Superior to chase down an algal bloom. In her contribution to FEJ StoryLog, Oosthoek shares how she leveraged the tip into a grant that allowed her and her TV channel partner to produce a multi-part text, video, engagement and teaching project.

  • Updated data on U.S. emissions offers environmental journalists an opportunity to chase down local climate change news, whether from a range of sectors and industries, or from 8,000 major facilities, with tools that allow a county-by-county view. The latest Reporter’s Toolbox takes a look at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual release of the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks.

  • A new ban is to be imposed on the last kind of asbestos still imported into the United States for use in commerce. But as the Issue Backgrounder explains, the regulatory back-and-forth over the substance by recent administrations won’t alleviate the biggest U.S. problem, which is the long history of its use in a wide range of building materials and other uses raising ongoing occupational risks.

April 13, 2022

  • Lead poisoning of U.S. drinking water has been a big headline-grabber in recent years, but there’s an even bigger environmental justice crisis — toxic lead exposure from paint. The latest TipSheet reports that this overlooked school and housing issue is getting new attention, but solving it will be difficult and expensive. Get context, reporting resources and ideas to tackle the story in your community.

  • If it often feels like the world of environmental journalism is all dour worry over our collective futures, resident humorist David Helvarg is here to remind you that our present is just as scary — if for different, and funnier, reasons. In his latest lampoon of the Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual conference, Helvarg shares his trademark jests from Houston. Plus, (straighter) reportage from the gathering at the conference coverage page.

  • A crowdsourced, crowdfunded investigation on the damage caused by the spread of commercial spruce plantations, both to the biodiversity-rich areas of Ireland and the isolated farming communities where they are planted, was the subject of an award-winning report from journalist Niall Sargent. Find out how he ID’d the problem, overcame investigative challenges and ultimately told a human-centered, data-rich story. Our latest Inside Story Q&A.

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