SEJ's 28th Annual Conference Agenda — Friday



Concurrent Sessions
Beat Dinners


Agenda Coverage Lodging/ Travel Sponsors / Exhibitors Environmental News About Flint



As a journalism organization that believes in an open society, SEJ each year welcomes a diverse group of attendees to our annual conference. Attendees include representatives of business, government and environmental groups, as well as working journalists, academics and students.

Because non-journalists are here, you may see or hear presentations or responses to presentations that you might not expect from mainstream journalists. The presentations and any responses do not necessarily reflect the views of SEJ or any of its members.

As our guest, you should respect our interest in open discussions of environmental issues by thanking all participants in sessions you attend and not disrupting presentations of views you disagree with.

Finally, please respect our rule that SEJ members are given preference during question-and-answer sessions.

Please note: SEJ is committed to supporting a harassment-free environment at the conference. Please read our anti-harassment policy.

All sessions, as well as registration, exhibits and breaks, will be at UM-Flint's Riverfront Conference Center,
1 Riverfront Plaza, Flint, MI 48502, unless otherwise indicated.



Friday, October 5, 2018



7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Location: Lobby

Pick up your badge and conference materials here. If you didn't sign up for the Saturday evening party or Sunday breakfast at Flint Institute of Arts, there might still be room. Check with registration and sign up there.


SEJ Information Table

Download the Whova app.

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Lobby

Sign up here for Friday beat dinners and Saturday mini-tours. Read up on Board candidates, find information about SEJ Award winners, membership and services.


SEJ Exhibits

7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Expo Room

Don't miss the wealth of information offered by the 2018 exhibitors. Learn about environmental issues and innovations, journalism fellowships, see some great displays and add to your source list.



1:45 - 4:00 p.m.
Location: Lobby

The UM-Flint bookstore is on site to sell SEJ members' and speakers' books, as well as offering environmental books handpicked for the SEJ conference.


Breakfast Program

Meet the Candidates

7:30 - 8:45 a.m. (breakfast will be served in the Expo Room beginning at 7:00 a.m.)
Location: Expo Room

Meet with SEJ candidates, board members and other leaders for discussion about SEJ's future.

Moderator: Jane Braxton Little, Freelance Journalist


Opening Plenary

The Future of News

9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
Location: Expo Room

Image courtesy of Pixabay

So, what’s next? Leaders from journalism and the world of information technology tell us what to expect as the relationship between people and environmental news continues to evolve. We know how to tell stories. We know how to find information that people want to hide. We know there are lots of other things we should be doing with our phones, and most of us are getting better at all that. But, what else do we need to know? How can environmental journalists also be innovators, helping to shape the future of news? Coverage.

Opening Remarks: Susan Borrego, Chancellor, University of Michigan-Flint

Moderator: Arnessa Garrett, Knight-Wallace Fellow, University of Michigan and Assistant Business Editor/Commerce Hub, The Dallas Morning News

Terry Parris Jr., Deputy Editor, Engagement, ProPublica
Tawana Petty, Data Justice Coordinator, Detroit Community Technology Project
Roop Raj, News Anchor, 21st Century Fox/Fox 2 Detroit
Florian Schaub, Assistant Professor, School of Information, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Emmet Smith, Creative Director, National Geographic


Beverage Break and Student Meetup

10:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Location: Expo Room
Sponsored by Earthjustice.


Concurrent Sessions 1

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

Freelance Pitch Slam
Location: Suite A

Tired of hitting refresh on your inbox? Why not pitch the old-fashioned way, sans elevator? A long-time conference favorite, SEJ's Pitch Slam is your chance to present a 90-second pitch to a captive audience of distinguished national and international editors. Not only will you walk away with valuable information on what publications are looking for, word rates and key contacts in the field, you'll receive targeted feedback on your pitch, and, if you're lucky, an assignment! We welcome freelancers of all experience levels to step on up and share their best story ideas — not a topic. Although it’s not required, the editors encourage you to send in your pitches in advance of the conference so that they can give them a closer look and thus give a more prepared critique when you pitch at the session. If you have one prepared, please email it to moderator by midnight EDT Tuesday, Oct. 2. You will still need to reserve your spot on a sign-up sheet at the start of this session — first come, first served. Note: This session will not be recorded and attendees are expected to keep others’ pitches confidential. Coverage.

Moderator: Gloria Dickie, Freelance Science and Environmental Journalist

Genevieve Belmaker, Forests Editor/Contributing Editor,
Marla Cone, Senior Editor/Science, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting
Anna Groves, Assistant Editor, Discover Magazine
Andrea Thompson, Associate Editor, Sustainability, Scientific American
Peter Weiss, Features and Special Projects Editor, Eos

Investigating Scientific Integrity
Location: Suite D

The phrase "scientific integrity" gets thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean and how do we as journalists cover it? We'll explore how scientific integrity figures into your beat, whether your focus is national or local. Attendees will get a handle on sourcing, research and best available data. This panel is geared towards journalists tackling daily deadlines as well as deep dives.


Moderator: Jenny Zou, Reporter, Center for Public Integrity

Francesca Grifo, Scientific Integrity Official, Office of the Science Advisor, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Sharon Lerner, Reporter, The Intercept and Reporting Fellow, The Investigative Fund
Lisa Song, Reporter, ProPublica

Here Comes the Flood
Location: Room 2307

Flooding is seen as a coastal risk, with the majority of National Flood Insurance Program policies purchased in three states: Florida, Louisiana and Texas. But climate change is fueling more frequent and intense precipitation events, leading to more devastating flooding events in other states. Meanwhile, the NFIP is still about $25 billion in debt with no consensus on how to fix the program. How much of a risk does flooding present to both coastal and non-coastal communities? What can or should be done to mitigate or adapt to flood risk across the country? What does the future of the National Flood Insurance Program look like? Coverage.

Moderator: Gloria Gonzalez, Deputy Editor, Business Insurance

Steve Ellis, Vice President, Taxpayers for Common Sense (speaking on behalf of the SmarterSafer Coalition)
Blair Feltmate, Head, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo
Velma Smith, Manager, Government Relations, Pew Charitable Trusts
Sarah Wilkins, ​Project Manager, Thriving Earth Exchange, American Geophysical Union

Climate and You: Change Hits Home
Location: Room 2321

So your vegetable garden isn't producing like it used to. Allergy season doesn't want to quit. And damn, it's Climate change is here, yet climate reporting at the local level remains difficult. Journalists who have successfully met this challenge will share their experiences. Researchers will demonstrate new, localized reporting tools available free of charge. Coverage.

Moderator: Nancy Gaarder, City Editor/Reporter, Omaha World-Herald and Board Member, Society of Environmental Journalists

Edward Maibach, University Professor and Director, Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University
Meera Subramanian, Freelance Journalist
Bernadette Woods Placky, Director of Climate Matters, Climate Central

Indigenous Rights: The State of Environmental Sovereignty
Location: Room 2315

From the Great Lakes' Line 5 pipeline controversy to Bears Ears National Monument protection to the continued Trans Mountain pipeline opposition, indigenous communities across North America continue to fight on the ground and in the courtrooms for sovereignty over their natural resources. In the U.S. tensions have only heightened under the Trump Administration. Hear from journalists and legal experts on the most pressing environmental issues facing indigenous communities in North America today — and the historical perspective, sources, court cases and reporting tips you need to bring these important issues to your readers. Coverage.

Moderator: Levi Rickert, Publisher and Editor, Native News Online

Holly Bird, Executive Director, Michigan Water Protectors Legal Task Force and Civil Ground Coordinator/Attorney, Water Protector Legal Collective
Theresa Braine, Freelance Journalist and former Environment Editor, Indian Country Media Network
Aaron Payment, Tribal Chairperson, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Mark Trahant, Editor, Indian Country Today

Water Wars or Water Peace?
Location: Room 2317

Access to fresh water is a major driver of social conflict in developing countries — and as both population and vulnerability to climate change increase, these conflicts may intensify. Water policies have profound impacts on food, land, wildlife and relationships with neighboring countries. At the same time, multinational corporations are seeking new supplies in some of the world's thirstiest places; and water-scarce countries like China and Saudi Arabia are grabbing farmland outside their borders to feed their citizens. Historically, the need to manage shared water sources has also spurred negotiation between parties in some of the world's most intractable conflicts. Will the future look like the past? From the Middle East to Mozambique to the Midwest, will our mutual dependence on water lead to cooperation, or to conflict? Coverage.

Moderator: Carl Ganter, Co-founder and Director, Circle of Blue

Monica Lewis-Patrick, Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, We the People of Detroit
Julia McQuaid, Director, Program on Transnational Challenges/Principal Research Scientist, Center for Stability and Development/Center for Strategic Studies, CNA
Rowan Moore Gerety, Reporter, Radio Producer and Author

Natural Gas and Climate Change: What's the Real Story?
Location: Room 2319

Burning natural gas now produces 1/3 of all American electricity production — up 44% in the last 10 years. The natural gas industry says it produces about half the CO2 as burning coal. Many journalists depend on EPA website information for their facts. But unburned leaking natural gas from distribution systems has a climate changing impact more than 1000% higher than the most commonly used EPA website sources report — and the leaking damage far outweighs the claimed burning benefit. This panel will explain how to bring this global issue local, introduce you to scientific sources for more accurate facts and review the common mistakes journalists make when reporting on the impact of natural gas on climate change. Coverage.


Moderator: Francis Koster, Writer, Lecturer and Author

David Abel, Reporter, The Boston Globe
Sabrina Shankman, Producer/Reporter, InsideClimate News
Daniel Zimmerle, Senior Research Associate, Energy Institute, Colorado State University

From the Skyline to the Streets: Covering the Urban Environment Beat
Location: Room 2325

Drinking water, traffic, green space, heat waves, trash: Cities are full of environmental stories. Surveys show that nearly all U.S. mayors see climate change as a serious threat, and many are investing to address it. But with federal funding shrinking and economic inequality on the rise, it's not easy to make city services accessible for everyone who lives there. Panelists will share story ideas and discuss how to weave many voices and perspectives into urban reporting. Coverage.

Moderator: Jennifer Weeks, Environment + Energy Editor, The Conversation

Oscar Abello, Editor, Next City
Serena Daniels, Contributor, Next City and Co-founder/Editor, Tostada
Rick Sadler, Assistant Professor, Division of Public Health, Michigan State University

Cutting the Crap: Is Reducing Waste the Key to Tackling Climate Change?
Location: Room 2331

Americans buy a lot and throw away a lot, including everything from food products to consumer goods. It's a vicious cycle that contributes to climate change and litters the environment with plastics and other waste. This panel will first look at how we can evaluate the implications of waste on greenhouse gas emissions. The question is as urgent as ever: research from across all sectors suggests that more than 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from consuming goods and food. And, with that in mind, the panel will explore how people and institutions can rethink their consumption to slow global warming. Coverage.

Moderator: Justin Worland, Energy and Environment Correspondent, TIME

Tony Kingsbury, President, TKingsbury LLC
Annie Leonard, Executive Director, Greenpeace USA and Author, "The Story of Stuff"
Alex Truelove, Zero Waste Director, U.S. PIRG

Environmental Film Screening: Pipelines
Location: Room 2301

Hidden beneath the surface of the five Great Lakes, dozens of pipelines carry oil and gas every day. One of them lies underneath the waters of Michigan's Straits of Mackinac. It's called "Line 5." Does the Line 5 pipeline pose a threat? Who is in charge of making sure the pipelines are safe? What regulations are in place to safeguard the largest surface freshwater system on Earth? In this new half-hour documentary, Detroit Public Television's Great Lakes Bureau examines the controversy surrounding the Line 5 pipeline built by Enbridge Inc. Watch "Beneath the Surface: The Line 5 Pipeline in the Great Lakes" to find out more.

Moderator: Mary Ellen Geist, Bureau Chief, Great Lakes Bureau, Detroit Public Television


Lunch Plenary

Tracking Trump: Environmental Rollbacks and Legal Challenges

12:15 - 1:45 p.m.
Location: Expo Room

Image courtesy of Patrick Semansky

He did what? Wait, what rule is that? The Trump Administration charged into office promising sweeping environmental rollbacks and has stayed true to its word. From methane to pesticides, the feds have relaxed dozens of protections designed to curb climate change and pollution. Whether you’re in the Beltway or reporting from afar, how can reporters best stay on top of the rollbacks and mounting legal challenges? How will red states, blue states and local authorities respond? How do we prepare ourselves to know what changes will have the most lasting impact? And how do we get a handle on the scope of the legal quagmire? Coverage.


Moderator: Emily Holden, Climate/Energy/Environment Reporter, Guardian News & Media

Jay Austin, Senior Attorney, Environmental Law Institute
Barry Hill, Adjunct Professor of Law, Vermont Law School and former Director, Office of Environmental Justice, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Jeffrey Holmstead, Partner, Bracewell LLP and former Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Eric Lipton, Investigative Reporter, The New York Times


Concurrent Sessions 2

2:00 - 3:15 p.m.

Solutions Journalism: Integrating Impact and Covering Progress
Location: Suite A

From pollution to corruption, environmental journalism is rightfully aimed at highlighting problems and exposing misdeeds. But what often gets less attention are efforts to find solutions to these issues. This panel will explore the role of solutions-based journalism in the environmental context. Among other aspects of the craft, we will look at when this approach is suitable, best practices and potential pitfalls (fluff pieces, hero narratives, etc.).

Moderator: Tik Root, Freelance Journalist

Talia Buford, Reporter, ProPublica
Jonathan Ellis, Deputy Climate Editor, The New York Times
Carolyn Robinson, Regional Director, Solutions Journalism Network

How to Freelance and Not Go Broke
Location: Suite D

This panel will provide valuable tips on ways that journalists can freelance by making environment a full-time beat. We'll hear from an editor of a prestigious environmental publication as well as two esteemed freelancers who successfully practice this craft, including a first-place winner in the SEJ 2018 Environmental Reporting Awards. Topics will include: new outlets for freelancers, grant opportunities to fund your stories, ways to develop your personal brand and how to broaden your area of expertise to get more freelancing gigs. We'll allow plenty of time for panelists to answer your burning questions about how to make the most of a freelancing career. Coverage.

Moderator: Julie Halpert, Freelance Journalist

Nancy Averett, Freelance Science Writer
Mary Hoff, Editor in Chief, Ensia
Rachel Nuwer, Freelance Journalist

Election 2018: Climate Change Reversal?
Location: Room 2307

This panel will forecast how the midterm election could mean incremental and possibly substantial changes for energy and climate policies, if Democrats win control of the House and, possibly, the Senate. The Nov. 6 election comes against a backdrop of U.S. retreat from international action on climate, including President Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord. And it comes less than a month before negotiators from nearly 200 nations resume UN climate talks in Poland toward finishing the rule book for the Paris Accord, with U.S. participation at those talks very much up in the air. Coverage.

Moderator: Dean Scott, Senior Reporter for Climate Change, Bloomberg Environment

Alex Flint, Executive Director, Alliance for Market Solutions and former Staff Director, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Jennifer Haverkamp, Director, Graham Sustainability Institute, University of Michigan and former Special Representative for Environment and Water Resources, U.S. State Department
Ana Unruh Cohen, Managing Director, Government Affairs, NRDC Action Fund and former Policy Director, Climate, Energy and Natural Resources, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
4th Speaker TBA

Diversity Within Environmental Groups: Has Anything Changed?
Location: Room 2315

In 2014, a report on the state of diversity in environmental institutions turned up a troubling finding: While ethnic minorities made up close to 40 percent of the U.S. population, they comprised fewer than 20 percent of environmental organizations, agencies and foundations. Further, white men were still likely to hold the most powerful positions in environmental groups. This panel will discuss the efforts underway to correct these imbalances. What are the journalistic consequences of a lack of racial and gender diversity in the environmental movement? What should reporters and editors know about how this inequity can bias our work? Coverage.

Moderator: Nikhil Swaminathan, Executive Editor, Grist

Rhonda Anderson, Regional Organizing Manager, Detroit Regional Office, Sierra Club
Yessenia Funes, Staff Reporter, Earther
Dorceta Taylor, James E. Crowfoot Collegiate Professor and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan

PFAS Contamination: This Decade's DDT
Location: Room 2317

Over the past decade, PFOA, PFOS and other compounds in the class know as PFAS have emerged as major drinking water contaminants around the country and the globe. While research has tied the persistent chemicals to a wide range of health effects including cancers, states and federal agencies have disagreed about what levels are safe. How can reporters convey the level of risk when officials disagree? How can the chemicals used in water- and stain-proofing, firefighting and industry be removed from water? And who will pay? This panel explores these and other questions about the emerging contaminants. Coverage.

Moderator: Sharon Lerner, Reporter, The Intercept

Robert Bilott, Partner, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
Judith Enck, Senior Advisor, Center for Climate Integrity and former Regional Administrator, Region 2, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Detlef Knappe, S. James Ellen Distinguished Professor, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, North Carolina State University

U.S. Offshore Wind Power Catches a Tailwind
Location: Room 2319

Europe has installed 16,000 megawatts of offshore wind projects. The United States, meanwhile, has built just one 30-megawatt project off Rhode Island. But momentum in the U.S. market is building, and a handful of coastal states are competing to lead the industry. On May 23, 2018 alone, regulators in Massachusetts and Rhode Island awarded contracts for a combined 1,200 megawatts of offshore wind capacity. Even so, big hurdles — developing a domestic supply chain, complying with the Jones Act, building out port infrastructure — remain. Come learn what it will take to build a Europe-sized offshore wind market in the United States. Coverage.

Moderator: Justin Gerdes, Independent Journalist

Josh Cohen, Director, Policy and Communications, Business Network for Offshore Wind
Stephanie McClellan, Director, Special Initiative on Offshore Wind, College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of Delaware
Rob Sargent, Clean Energy Program Director, Environment America

Science in the Trump Administration
Location: Room 2325

The gathering of evidence and pursuit of truth should be at the core of every decision government makes. Politicians and policymakers must understand the facts, the laws of nature, before they act, rather than molding the facts to suit their personal convictions, silencing the scientists or even de-funding the pursuit of science. Today an anti-science attitude has infiltrated many aspects of the federal government. This panel will discuss these conflicts between science and government and give journalists tips about investigating the politicization of decision-making and the misuse of science. Coverage.

Moderator: Elizabeth Shogren, Science Reporter, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting

Joel Clement, Non-resident Senior Fellow, Arctic Initiative, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School and former Director, Policy Office, U.S. Department of the Interior
Jeffrey Holmstead, Partner, Bracewell LLP and former Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Eric Lipton, Investigative Reporter, The New York Times

Reporting Beyond Our Borders: Funding and Navigating International Trips
Location: Room 2331

While SEJ is based in North America, the need for environmental coverage spans the globe. Funding for this kind of reporting can be hard to come by, and international environmental stories often require cultural and social context to broaden our understanding. How can journalists best cover the stories unfolding beyond American borders? Hear from journalists who have taken a variety of approaches to covering international stories, whether reporting from their own countries for international audiences or American journalists who seek out innovative funding strategies to get them abroad. Learn about some of the reporting challenges and how these environmental journalists have surmounted them. Coverage.

Moderator: Lois Parshley, Independent Journalist

Lisa Palmer, Journalist, Author and Senior Fellow, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center
Rachel Rohr, Knight-Wallace Fellow; Managing Editor, The GroundTruth Project
Rachael Strecher, Director, Storytelling Grants and Media Innovation, National Geographic Society

Environmental Film Screening: Water Diversion
Location: Room 2301

Water. Some people call it the new oil. But who owns the water in the Great Lakes Region, where more than 40 million people get their drinking water from five freshwater lakes? In the new half-hour documentary, "Tapping the Great Lakes", Detroit Public Television's Great Lakes Bureau takes a deep dive into several methods of water withdrawal and their impact on the Great Lakes, including Nestle's bottled water operation in Michigan and Waukesha, Wisconsin's request to use Lake Michigan water for its drinking water supply. Who's watching over Great Lakes water? Can the Great Lakes survive continued attempts to diminish their supply of water? Watch "Tapping the Great Lakes" to find out more.

Moderator: Mary Ellen Geist, Bureau Chief, Great Lakes Bureau, Detroit Public Television


Beverage Break and Student Meetup

3:15 - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Expo Room
Sponsored by Earthjustice.


Membership Meeting

3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Expo Room

A cash-only bar will be set up from 3:30-7:30 p.m.

All are welcome for the Annual Membership Meeting of the Society of Environmental Journalists. SEJ members, please attend to hear from candidates and cast your vote to fill open seats on SEJ's 2019 Board of Directors. Reports, Q&A and lively discussion of hot topics and future plans for SEJ membership, finance and programs will round out the hour.


The EPA Is in Your Backyard

5:30 - 6:45 p.m.
Location: Suite A

One of the advantages of writing about agencies like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Interior is that actions these agencies take, particularly the EPA, touch every single person in the United States, on a daily basis. That means the story of the Trump-era EPA is a local story, as much as it is a national one. We'll take some time to talk through how to effectively cover the radical changes taking place both at EPA and Interior through the eyes of local readers, listeners and viewers. This session will be led by Eric Lipton, a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Washington-based investigative reporter for The New York Times, who has zigzagged across the United States over the last 20 months to find people, places and events that allow him to translate these policy changes into on-the-ground stories. So while regulations like New Source Review, or Emission Requirements for Glider Vehicles, or Federal Mineral Valuation Rule might sound enormously dense and boring, these are policies that have real consequences — and there are stories behind each that are sitting there for reporters in communities around the nation to tell — stories that readers urgently want and need us to dig into and explain. We'll hold a "How To" session that attendees will be expected to participate in, to offer ideas as to how to localize environmental coverage and how SEJ can perhaps play a role in helping facilitate this effort in places nationwide.


A Bounty of Beat Dinners

7:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Consult beat dinner flyers displayed on the sign-up table in the Riverfront lobby, or below, for details. Sign up for the beat dinner of your choice on the clipboards provided. Flint’s remarkable downtown Farmer’s Market is celebrating harvest time and its restaurants will share in the bounty. Note: Attendees pay for their own dinner.

Meet up with your beat-dinner moderator in the Riverfront lobby and walk together to your restaurant (with the exception of dinner #9, which will go by bus). See the restaurants on a Google map here.


1. A Toxic Dinner

The U.S. EPA is at a critical moment in its history as it relates to toxic chemicals and pesticides, topics that impact every single person in the United States. The agency is in the early stages of implementing the landmark Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which is the first modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act since it was adopted in 1976. This means there are 10 priority toxic chemicals now under review that the EPA will have to decide if it should restrict their use or let them be. Similarly, the EPA is starting the wholesale review of a class of pesticides called organophosphates, which are widely used in fruits and vegetables, but which some research suggests might be causing lower IQs among farm worker children and other serious health impacts. We talk through these two major regulator efforts, how to best cover them and also ways to make stories about them have a local impact. If we have time, we will also have a conversation about changes in EPA enforcement practices in the Trump era, and how any reporter can use ECHO to track enforcement cases and build a story.

Moderator: Eric Lipton, Investigative Reporter, The New York Times

Restaurant: Blackstone's Pub and Grill, 531 South Saginaw St.; American Irish; killer sea-salt wings, salads, burgers

Maximum group size: 35


2. Get the Lead Out

Lessons from Flint's water crisis — we'll have an informal and informative chat with LeeAnne Walters about the role of community activists and outcome-driven citizen science in uncovering environmental issues. Walters is the Flint mother of four who put her background as a medical assistant to good use in building a community-wide water-testing effort that helped confirm the danger that many residents were convinced lay in their tainted water supply. The conversation will be organized and led by Andy Revkin, the longtime New York Times environment reporter who, after a stint at ProPublica, is now strategic adviser for science and environmental journalism at National Geographic Society.

Moderator: Andrew Revkin, Strategic Adviser for Environmental and Science Journalism, National Geographic Society

Speaker: LeeAnne Walters, Flint resident and 2018 Goldman Prize Recipient, North America

Restaurant: Churchill's Food and Spirits, 340 South Saginaw St.; Pizzas, pasta, burgers

Maximum group size: 50


3. National Parks and Monuments under Trump

The Trump administration’s policies toward national parks and monuments, including the drastic shrinkage of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, have sparked fears that some of America’s most cherished lands are being sacrificed for drilling and logging. This discussion will focus on the latest developments from the front lines of the battle over the future of the Great Outdoors.

Moderator: John Flesher, Correspondent, Global Environment Beat Team, The Associated Press

Speaker: Ani Kame'enui, Legislative Director, National Parks Conservation Association

Restaurant: The Cork on Saginaw, 635 S. Saginaw; Full-service restaurant, two thumbs up from SEJ organizers

Maximum group size: 30


4. Coverage of Extreme Weather: Few Mentions of Climate Change, Little Attention to Long-term Impacts in Puerto Rico and Elsewhere

How can news outlets that cover hurricanes, storms and wildfires best put these events in the context of climate change, and also stick with the stories long enough to capture continuing impacts?

Moderator: Lisa Hymas, Climate and Energy Program Director, Media Matters for America

Restaurant: Hoffman's Deco Deli, 503 Garland; Deli sandwiches, wraps, soups – this is a BYOB

Maximum group size: 40


5. Coping with the War on the Press

It's an especially difficult time to be an environmental journalist. Just doing your job can get you branded an enemy of the people. We'll talk about the war on the press and some of the other stresses of spending all our time thinking about pollution, the climate and environmental degradation.

Rebecca Leber, Reporter, Washington, D.C. Bureau, Mother Jones
Sharon Lerner, Reporter, The Intercept and Reporting Fellow, The Investigative Fund

Restaurant: 501 Bar and Grill, 500 South Saginaw; Small Plates and Martini Bar (Hipster Joint)

Maximum group size: 50


6. Journalism Fellowships and Residences

Do you have an important story you're dying to cover but need funding for time, travel and equipment? Want some time away from the daily grind to work on a project or jump-start your next career phase? Consider applying for a grant, an artist residency or a sabbatical. Learn more about these opportunities from people who run these types of programs.

Moderator: Dustin Renwick, Program Officer for Storytelling Grants, National Geographic Society

Restaurant: The Local Grocer, 601 Martin Luther King Avenue; Locally sourced sandwiches – this is BYOB

Maximum group size: 25


7. Long-Form Writing

Donovan Hohn will talk about the tensions between science, journalism and activism in his New York Times Magazine feature on the Flint water crisis, and how long-form journalists cultivate complexity and subtlety.

Moderator: Elizabeth Royte, Writer/Author

Speaker: Donovan Hohn, Author, "Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea & of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists & Fools Including the Author Who Went in Search of Them"

Restaurant: The Lunch Studio, 444 South Saginaw Street; "A delicious alternative to downtown Flint." Sandwiches, chili – this is a BYOB. MUST order from menu by 2:00 p.m. Friday. Sign up on the clipboard in the Riverfront lobby and write your order beside your name.

Maximum group size: 30


8. SEJ Open Screen

Come join us for a visual storyteller's show-and-tell. We'll be having a casual dinner and chatting about our multimedia. Please come with a USB ready with images, video or any kind of visual medium. Each person will have a turn to share work on the screen (if you want to!)

Moderator: Kevin Beaty, Multimedia Reporter, Denverite

Location: Riverfront Conference Center, Boardroom B and C, Main Hall

Maximum group size: 30


9. Drunken Botanist

We talk a lot about where our food comes from, but how about our drinks? We'll talk about the dizzying array of herbs, flowers, trees, fruits and fungi that humans have, through ingenuity, inspiration and sheer desperation, contrived to transform into alcohol.

Moderator: Marilyn Elie, Freelance Journalist
Jim Cohen, Professor of Applied Biology, Kettering University
Tracy Wacker, Director, Thomson Center for Learning and Teaching

Restaurant: Luigi's, 2132 Davison Road; Best pizza in town, with a good bar (a bus will shuttle attendees to and from restaurant)

Maximum group size: 25



Wednesday, October 3
Thursday, October 4
Saturday, October 6
Sunday, October 7

Topics on the Beat: