TipSheet

TipSheet is a weekly source for story ideas, background, interview leads and reporting tools for journalists who cover news of the environment.

  • For questions and comments, or to suggest future TipSheets, email the SEJournal TipSheet editor Joseph A. Davis at sej@sej.org.
  • Journalists can receive TipSheet free by subscribing to the SEJournal Online, the digital news magazine of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Subscribe to the e-newsletter here. TipSheet is also available through the searchable archive below and via RSS feed.
  • Also see searchable archives of SEJ's WatchDog TipSheet, featuring story ideas, articles, updates, events and other information with a focus on freedom-of-information issues of concern to environmental journalists in both the United States and Canada.

Latest TipSheet Items

April 17, 2019

  • The Toxics Release Inventory database, refreshed annually, has long been the foundation of many a good environmental news story. The latest release is now out, and this week’s TipSheet reminds journalists why the searchable online TRI can be such a valuable reporting tool in tracking toxic dangers.

April 10, 2019

  • The first state ban on styrofoam food containers makes this a good time to see how things stand with styrofoam in your area, as the controversial plastic draws negative attention for overflowing landfills, causing litter and polluting waters. More, plus story ideas and reporting resources, in this week’s TipSheet.

April 3, 2019

  • Seemingly healthy foods might not be as healthy as consumers believe. A new list tracking pesticide residue tells a different story, explains this week’s SEJournal TipSheet. Find out what iconic health food is on the “Dirty Dozen” list and which healthy standby makes the “Clean Fifteen.” Plus, the backstory, why pesticide residue matters and resources to report on the issue.

March 27, 2019

  • With flood-ravaged Midwestern states in the news, it’s time to ask whether your own community is ready for the “big one.” This week’s TipSheet offers a 10-point Resiliency Checklist to focus your reporting. Track the vulnerability of infrastructure like drinking water and sewage plants, roads, bridges and levees, the adequacy of flood insurance and much more.

March 20, 2019

  • Drinking water contaminated with PFAS for years has caused worry, even outrage, in local communities affected by the toxic chemicals. Now, a military database may help reporters locate contamination sites. This week’s TipSheet has more on the database, along with tips for evaluating your local PFAS story.

March 13, 2019

  • Hundreds of coal ash ponds and landfills around the United States pollute drinking water supplies, and now a newly released report helps localize the problem for environmental reporters. This week’s TipSheet explores the new data source, provides the back story on coal ash regulation (or lack thereof) and the potential health risks, while offering numerous questions to ask and resources to track down.

March 6, 2019

  • Where do all those recyclables actually go? This week’s TipSheet dives into the trash to find a story worth telling — of troubling overseas dumping, problematic local incineration and a fraying patchwork of U.S. regulation. Plus, several dozen questions you might want to ask, a pair of pro tips and a dozen resources to track the story in your area.

February 27, 2019

  • The fierce contest over the Trump border wall has critical environmental implications, both local and regional, per the latest TipSheet. A key suit against the Trump emergency declaration was filed by environmental groups and plans for a border barrier may harm significant wildlife habitat, as well as numerous migrating species, including some that are endangered. Get the back story and why it matters, along with story ideas and reporting resources.

February 20, 2019

  • A rare bipartisan package of public lands measures now moving through Congress is big national news and will yield numerous regional and local stories. The bill permanently authorizes a major conservation fund, expands parks, designates wilderness areas, bars some mining, protects bird species and more. This week’s TipSheet explores why the lands bill matters so much, tracks the legislation’s likely passage and helps you prep your coverage with story ideas and more than half a dozen reporting resources.

February 13, 2019

  • The Green New Deal may be just a broad outline, even after the recent introduction of a resolution in Congress. But don’t think the lack of specificity means the Green New Deal won’t be news for the long term. This week’s TipSheet explains the reasons the Green New Deal may endure and why it matters, plus story ideas and resources for journalists covering climate, environmental politics and more.

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