SEJ's 28th Annual Conference Agenda — Saturday

 

 

Concurrent Sessions
Lunch Plenary
Mini-Tours
Dinner and Dance Party

 

Agenda Registration Lodging/ Travel Advertise/ Exhibit 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.

 

 

Saturday, October 6, 2018

 

Registration

7:00 a.m. - 2:30 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

8:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Location: Lobby

Sign up here for Saturday mini-tours. Find information about SEJ Award winners, membership and services.

 

SEJ Exhibits

7:00 a.m. - 2:30 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.

 

Bookstore

9:00 a.m. - 2:30 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.

 

Networking Breakfast and Breakout Session

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

Browse the exhibits or choose a discussion table on a wide range of timely topics and reporting tips or pick up your breakfast in the Expo Room and join the FEJ breakout session below. Discussion table topics will be posted here soon (or consult your Networking Breakfast Flyer).

 

Pitch Slam and FEJ Proposal Coaching: U.S. Drinking Water, Storm Water

7:30 - 8:45 a.m. (pick up your breakfast in the Expo Room beginning at 7:00 a.m.)
Location: Suite A

SEJ's Fund for Environmental Journalism will award grants up to $5,000 in January 2019 for story projects covering U.S. drinking water or storm water issues. Share ideas, gain feedback and tips to strengthen your proposal for FEJ Winter Competition. Deadline is November 15. Note: This session will not be recorded. Made possible by a grant from Spring Point Partners.

Speakers:
Jennifer Weeks, Environment + Energy Editor, The Conversation
Timothy Wheeler, Associate Editor/Senior Writer, Bay Journal
Carolyn Whetzel, Independent Journalist

 

Concurrent Sessions 3

9:00 - 10:15 a.m. (with exception of LEGAL; 9:00 a.m. - Noon)

THE CRAFT 1
Environmental Data Visualization
Location: Suite A

We'll talk about "getting to know your data" and show how one fairly simple statistical test challenged a state health department's characterization of a researcher's work on lead poisoning in Flint. We'll also look at how scientists assess ocean acidification (OA) using sensor data and lab tests. A sample database will be introduced and visualized to reflect OA's impact on sea life with some emphasis on future predictions of a higher CO2 planet.

Resources:

Presenters:
Dianne Finch, Digital Journalist, Educator, Data Visualization Consultant
Kristi Tanner, Staff Writer, Detroit Free Press

THE CRAFT 2
Social Media: New Ideas for the Age of the Presidential Tweet
Location: Suite D

In an era when tweets from the President of the United States regularly make news, what strategies should journalists use on social media? Get practical tips and perspective from journalists who are social media power users and academics who study trends on social media.

Moderator: Judy Fahys, Reporter, KUER News

Speakers:
Michelle Bloom, Senior Designer, Politico and Knight-Wallace Fellow, University of Michigan
Cliff Lampe, Professor of Information, School of Information, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (invited)
Mark Trahant, Editor, Indian Country Today
Christian Sandvig, Professor of Information; Faculty Associate, Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social Research; Professor of Communication Studies, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Professor of Art and Design, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (invited)

CLIMATE
Blaming Climate Change for Disasters and Suffering
Location: Room 2307

Climate change is making disasters worse and affecting communities' health and welfare, but describing warming's role when other factors are involved can be tricky. Journalists who include climate change in their coverage can be accused of being insensitive or partisan. And when climate change is prominently blamed for flooding, fires or heat deaths, other factors under the control of local and state leaders can be overlooked — like wetland losses, forest mismanagement and poverty. Panelists will explain the science of extreme event attribution and describe how they accurately, succinctly and sensitively explain the role of climate change in their coverage.

Moderator: John Upton, Features Journalist, Climate Central

Speakers:
Justine Calma, Staff Writer, Grist
Alexander Kaufman, Climate, Environment and Business Reporter, HuffPost
Andrea Thompson, Associate Editor, Sustainability, Scientific American

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Flint to the World: Water is a Human Right
Location: Room 2315

Access to safe drinking water was recognized by the United Nations as a human right in 2010. Although the resolution carries no regulatory weight and many developed nations abstained, including the United States, supporters believe it sets an important goal. Lack of safe drinking water has a devastating impact on health, but who is going to pay to provide clean water for all? Is enshrining water as a human right the best way to prevent overuse and contamination? Or should we let the free market decide and how much is this already happening?

Moderator: Leana Hosea, Media Fellow, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan

Speakers:
Josiah Neeley, Senior Fellow, Energy Policy Director and Southwest Region Director, R Street Institute
Erik Olson, Senior Director, Health and Food, Healthy People and Thriving Communities Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
Wenona Singel, Associate Professor of Law, College of Law and Associate Director, Indigenous Law and Policy Center, Michigan State University
Nakiya Wakes, Administrative Assistant for Michigan Faith in Action and Resident, City of Flint

WATER
Great Lakes: Perspective on a Toxic Past and Binational Protection
Location: Room 2317

What will it take to get the Great Lakes clean enough to eat the fish without consumption advisories? Where do things stand with cleanup of toxic hot spots in the region? We're eight years into the cleanup and restoration work of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative — so, what's next, and will that funding be secure into the future? How well are the U.S. and Canada working together to protect their shared resources? We'll tackle these questions and more.

Moderator: Rebecca Williams, Senior Reporter, The Environment Report, Michigan Public Radio

Speakers:
John Jackson, Member, Great Lakes Water Quality Board, International Joint Commission; Canadian Adviser, Great Lakes Fishery Commission; and Lecturer, Waste Management, School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo
John Stine, Chair, Great Lakes Commission and Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
3rd Speaker TBA

ENERGY
Cargo Shipping's Clean Energy Challenge
Location: Room 2319

Cargo ships are the linchpins of our modern economy; they carry nearly 90 percent of everything we buy. Yet ships are significant sources of global greenhouse gas emissions and toxic air pollutants. As a result, the shipping industry is facing major policy changes, including a 2020 low-sulfur fuel rule and a 2050 carbon reduction goal. To meet these targets, cargo ships must dismantle a century-old energy system and develop newer, cleaner technologies — no small task for such massive ships. This wide-ranging panel will explore the challenges and solutions facing an industry that's vital to our everyday lives.

Moderator: Maria Gallucci, Freelance Science Journalist and 2017-2018 Energy Journalism Fellow, The University of Texas at Austin

Speakers:
Dennis Donahue, Operations Manager, Lake Michigan Field Station, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Joseph Pratt, Chief Executive Officer, Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine and former Researcher/Engineer, Advanced Energy RD&D, Sandia National Laboratories
Christina Wolfe, Manager, Air Quality, Port and Freight Facilities, Environmental Defense Fund

NATION
The War Against Plastics: Who's Winning?
Location: Room 2325

Now that plastic is pervasive around the planet, more and more people are rising up and demanding solutions with unprecedented momentum. But what are they? Must more cities, states and now even nations ban or curb plastic uses? Should plastic manufacturers be shouldering more of the blame and therefore the solutions? What is the very latest science on plastic in the environment and food chain? National Geographic announced that its 'plastic bag iceberg' magazine cover is already among its most iconic ever — a measure of the public's rising angst. And reporters are responding with more aggressive coverage. This panel is designed to advance reporters' insight and to equip each with the newest information and new hooks looming around the corner.

Moderator: Jeff Burnside, Independent Journalist

Speakers:
Dune Ives, Executive Director, Lonely Whale
Faye Park, President, U.S. PIRG and Executive Vice President, The Public Interest Network
3rd Speaker TBA

GLOBE
Gender Equality and the Environment: From the Field to the Newsroom
Location: Room 2331

The statistics tell the story: Almost half of the world's farmers are women, and the UN estimates that 80 percent of people displaced by climate change are women. Yet less than 20 percent of women own land and only 12 percent of the world's environment ministries are led by women. Women are leading some of the world's most inspiring — and most dangerous — grassroots movements, while sexual harassment plagues women at leading U.S. environmental institutions. A growing group of researchers, activists and journalists are investigating the links between gender and the environment, exposing the fault lines of injustice that threaten to undermine environmental protection and gender equality. Panelists from Michigan, the Mid-South and Mexico will share their stories of how women's work is changing our planet.

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

Speakers:
Itzá Castañeda Camey, Gender and Sustainable Development Special Adviser, Global Gender Office, International Union for the Conservation of Nature
Anna Smith, Assistant Editor, High Country News
Tianna Scozzaro, Director, Gender, Equity and Environment Program, Sierra Club

LEGAL
Freelancers Legal Issues Workshop (Note: This session runs from 9:00 a.m. - Noon and requires pre-registration; details TBA soon.)
Location: Room 2337

This nuts and bolts legal workshop is offered in a special double session by two attorneys, publishing lawyer Sallie Randolph and environmental lawyer William H. Funk. The session will cover a variety of legal issues faced by working writers. We'll explore the legal problems faced by freelancers as they navigate the changing landscape of publishing today — from periodicals to books, from scholarly journals to tabloid weeklies, from academic presses to self-publishing. How can today's writers navigate through the prospects and pitfalls of 21st century publishing?

Moderator: William Funk, Freelance Journalist, Documentarian and Environmental Attorney

Speaker: Sallie Randolph, of Counsel, Law Office of Stephanie Adams, PLLC

 

Beverage Break and Student Meetup

10:15 - 10:45 a.m.
Location: Expo Room

 

Concurrent Sessions 4

10:45 a.m. - Noon (with exception of LEGAL; 9:00 a.m. - Noon)

THE CRAFT 1
Keeping Your Data Safe and Secure
Location: Suite A

Worried about having your communication with sources intercepted? Your email and other accounts hacked? Digital security has become more important than ever in an environment in which reporters are increasingly vilified, threatened, arrested and subpoenaed. Whether it's Russian hackers or the U.S. government or a private company that alarms you, you need to trust that you are protected from powerful digital surveillance and data-collection tools that could be used against you. This workshop will offer insights, tools and techniques on how to securely work with sensitive sources, how to assess vulnerabilities in your data and digital communications, and how to store data.

Moderator: Susan Moran, Freelance Journalist

Speakers:
Philip Erlenbeck, Unix Administrator, Department of Information Technology and Services, University of Michigan-Flint
Liza Gross, Independent Journalist and Author, "The Science Writers' Investigative Reporting Handbook: A Beginner's Guide to Investigations"
Will Potter, Investigative Journalist; Senior Academic Innovation Fellow, Office of Academic Innovation, University of Michigan; and Author, "Green Is the New Red: An Insider's Account of a Social Movement Under Siege"
Jamie Tomasello, Senior Manager, Security Operations, Duo Security

THE CRAFT 2
Unheard Voices: Would They Have Mattered When the Flint Story Broke?
Location: Suite D

This panel explores the way the Flint Water Crisis broke locally and nationally. While local coverage was early, often and award winning, national coverage was late, lacking and self-criticized by editors and ombudswomen at newspapers such as the New York Times and Washington Post. What voices were heard locally that were not heard nationally? Did conscious or unconscious class-ism or racism play a role in whom the media considered legitimate sources? As dramatic as Flint was and remains, it is but one of hundreds of environmental justice coverage opportunities around the nation. What lessons can be learned to improve such coverage?

Moderator: Derrick Jackson, Fellow, Union of Concerned Scientists and Author, "Unjust Coverage of the Flint Water Crisis" (a 2017 paper for Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University)

Speakers:
Richard Craig, Associate Professor of Communication and Director, Masters Program in Communication, George Mason University
Ron Fonger, Reporter, The Flint Journal
Curt Guyette, Investigative Reporter, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan
Cynthia Lindsey, Attorney and Founder, Cynthia M. Lindsey & Associates
Lawrence Reynolds, former President and Chief Executive Officer, Mott Children's Health Center, Flint and Member, Flint Water Advisory Task Force

CLIMATE
States, Cities and Corporations Take the Lead on Climate Change
Location: Room 2307

As the Trump administration moves to exit the Paris agreement and unravel pollution-cutting regulations, states, cities and businesses are taking up the slack in fighting and adapting to climate change. This panel will examine how states and local governments are acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, brace for the impacts and hold polluters accountable. We'll discuss what politicians from New York to California may be overlooking in responding to rising sea levels and worsening wildfires and explore steps businesses are taking, sometimes reluctantly, toward a lower-carbon future.

Moderator: Tony Barboza, Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times

Speakers:
Jessica Boehland, Senior Program Officer, Environment, The Kresge Foundation
Judith Enck, Senior Advisor, Center for Climate Integrity and former Regional Administrator, Region 2, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Andrew Revkin, Strategic Adviser for Environmental and Science Journalism, National Geographic Society
4th Speaker TBA

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Elevating and Improving Our Reporting on Environmental Justice Issues
Location: Room 2315

"Environmental justice" is too often viewed as a narrow beat — here's a downtrodden community facing an environmental problem. But the beat can encompass so much more. Environmental justice intersects with labor, criminal justice, health care and urban development, among many other areas. How can journalists tell more expansive stories about justice and the environment? How can reporters working on local EJ stories get more support and attention for their work? And how can journalists with national audiences connect the dots between happenings in different parts of the country and tell cohesive stories that make an impact?

Moderator: Evlondo Cooper, Senior Writer, Climate & Energy Program, Media Matters for America

Speakers:
Yvette Cabrera, Environmental Justice Reporter, HuffPost
Jiquanda Johnson, Founder, Publisher and Editor, FlintBeat.com
Debra Krol, Owner, Jolon Indian Media and Freelance Journalist

WATER
Water Infrastructure: Pipes, Plants and Problems
Location: Room 2317

The availability of clean drinking water and the safe disposal of wastewater pose a great challenge to the nation's cities and towns and its rivers and lakes. Our water infrastructure is in deep disrepair. New construction and repair estimates vary widely. It could surpass $300 billion each for drinking water and wastewater. Competition is building between new kinds of plastic piping and traditionally manufactured pipes of concrete and steel. How can local governments, regional utilities and states pay for the tremendous cost to build and operate plants that produce safe drinking water and dispose of unsafe water?

Moderator: Neil Strassman, Contributing Editor, Texas Climate News

Speakers:
Janice Beecher, Professor and Director, Institute of Public Utilities Regulatory Research & Education, College of Social Science, Michigan State University and Member, Environmental Finance Advisory Board, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Andrew Whelton, Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering, Purdue University
3rd Speaker TBA

ENERGY
Youth Rising: Young Voices on Solutions to the Climate Crisis
Location: Room 2319

Some of the biggest oil and gas companies on the planet, and even the federal government, are entangled in legal disputes over climate change and, in many of these challenges, it is America's youth demanding accountability. From Alaska to Florida, kids and teenagers — the very generation that will have to deal with climate consequences — are pushing corporations to stop pumping out greenhouse gases and urging the federal government to protect public resources. Hear from the children and get a primer on the lawsuits as they press toward federal court.

Moderator: Lynne Cherry, Author/Filmmaker/Journalist

Speakers:
Victoria Barrett, Plaintiff, Our Children's Trust Lawsuit
Lou Helmuth, Deputy Director, Our Children's Trust
3rd Speaker TBA

NATION
Faith and the Environment: How Religious Leaders Are Changing Hearts in Support of Eco-justice
Location: Room 2325

A wide range of religious leaders have urged their followers to take strong stands in support of the environment. In his 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis warned that climate change represented “one of the principal challenges facing humanity.” On this panel some of the nation’s key religious figures will discuss efforts to divest from fossil fuels, support victims of the Flint water crisis and oppose rollbacks of environmental laws by appealing to the power of faith.

Moderator: Jim Detjen, Knight Professor of Journalism Emeritus and Founding Director, Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, Michigan State University

Speakers:
Brooks Berndt, Environmental Justice Minister, United Church of Christ
Deb Conrad, Senior Minister, Woodside Church (Flint)
Charles Morris, Founder, Michigan Interfaith Power & Light; Priest; and Administrator, St. Mary of Redford Parish (Detroit)
Shantha Ready Alonso, Executive Director, Creation Justice Ministries

GLOBE
The Global Rise of HABs: Climate Change, Poor Land Use and Other Common Denominators Spurring Deadly Algal Growth Across the World
Location: Room 2331

In 1958, the late Steve McQueen starred in a sci-fi movie called The Blob, a cult classic about a gelatinous form of alien life that kept growing out of control. What's happening today with big, toxic outbreaks of cyanobacteria isn't fictional and it isn't funny, though. Many of these so-called "harmful algal blooms" contain a species of algae called microcystis which — at 3.5 billion years old — is one of Earth's oldest-living organisms and — according to the CDC — is also one of the most deadly things in nature. This and other algal species are on the rise globally, fed by an insane amount of nutrients and growing under Earth's climate-altered heat lamp. From Lake Erie to South Florida to Africa's Lake Victoria, China's Lake Taihu, Hungary's Lake Balaton, Russia's Lake Onega and Canada's Lake Winnipeg, our panel of experts will take you on a whirlwind tour of Earth's hot spots for algae and tell you what full-blown HABs have in common with each other.

Moderator: Tom Henry, Environmental-Energy Writer, The (Toledo) Blade

Speakers:
Timothy Davis, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University and former Research Scientist, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Lynn Henning, Regional Representative, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project and Winner, 2010 Goldman Prize
Michael McKay, Ryan Professor of Biology and Director, Marine Program, Bowling Green State University
William Mitsch, Director, Everglades Wetland Research Park, Florida Gulf Coast University
John Rumpler, Senior Director, Clean Water for America Campaign and Senior Attorney, Environment America
Steven Wilhelm, Kenneth & Blaire Mossman Professor and Associate Head, Department of Microbiology, The University of Tennessee

LEGAL
Freelancers Legal Issues Workshop (Note: This session runs from 9:00 a.m. - Noon and requires pre-registration; details TBA soon.)
Location: Room 2337

This nuts and bolts legal workshop is offered in a special double session by two attorneys, publishing lawyer Sallie Randolph and environmental lawyer William H. Funk. The session will cover a variety of legal issues faced by working writers. We'll explore the legal problems faced by freelancers as they navigate the changing landscape of publishing today — from periodicals to books, from scholarly journals to tabloid weeklies, from academic presses to self-publishing. How can today's writers navigate through the prospects and pitfalls of 21st century publishing?

 

Environmental Journalism Awards Luncheon

Noon - 2:00 p.m.
Location: Expo Room

We work hard throughout the year to not only get the stories, but to get them right. Now it's time to shift the spotlight on ourselves. Let's gather and honor the best of the best, including the inaugural Nina Mason Pulliam Outstanding Environmental Reporting Award, plus winners in seven categories of SEJ’s Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment. Following the awards and other festivities, we'll discuss idea-to-execution with some of 2018's top winners to learn how they find stories and develop them into environmental journalism blockbusters.

Emcees: Jeff Burnside, Independent Journalist; Gloria Dickie, Freelance Science and Environmental Journalist; and Bobby Magill, SEJ President and Reporter, Bloomberg Environment

Presenter: Gene D'Adamo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust

Speakers:
Tony Bartelme, Senior Projects Reporter, The Post and Courier and Winner, SEJ 2018 Award for Outstanding Beat Reporting, Small Market
Carey Gillam, Freelance Writer and Winner, SEJ 2018 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award
Kevin Hayes, Editor, The Weather Channel Digital and Winner, SEJ 2018 Award for Outstanding Feature Story
Abrahm Lustgarten, Senior Reporter, ProPublica and Winner, SEJ 2018 Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting, Large Market

 

Mini-Tour Excursions

2:15 - 5:30 p.m.

Sign up on-site beginning Wednesday afternoon for SEJ’s popular mini-tours. Options this year may include: Kayaking the Flint River; Urban Ecology; Self-testing for Lead and other Contaminants; Outdoor Photography; GM Brownfields; EPA Air Pollution Research Facility; Green Chemistry; and Climate Change Refugees.

 

© Magnolia Entertainment

Dinner and Dance Party

7:00 - 11:00 p.m.
Location: Expo Room

Bring your dancing shoes. Get ready for blues legend Larry McCray, who will bend strings and give SEJ a heavy dose of Midwestern soul. McCray is an internationally known, award-winning blues guitarist — so forget the deadlines and party with your peers to one of Michigan’s best. Pre-registration and $35 fee required.

 

 

 


Wednesday, October 3
Thursday, October 4
Friday, October 5
Sunday, October 7

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