SEJ's 28th Annual Conference Agenda — Wednesday



All-day Workshops
Meet and Greet
Opening Reception
Future of Cars Plenary


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



Wednesday, October 3, 2018


Environmental Journalism 2018: The 28th Annual Conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists officially begins Wednesday, October 3, at 5:00 p.m., with an opening reception followed by dinner and programs on Flint and the future of the auto industry.

Before the official kick-off, three all-day workshops will be held, as well as an afternoon meet-and-greet with fun networking opportunities.

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.

Note: All information is subject to change. Please check back often for updates and information on event times, speakers, etc.



Independent Journalism Workshop

Heart-to-Heart with Flint:
Racism, Stereotypes and News Narratives

8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Suite A, Expo Center (in the Riverfront Conference Center)

This workshop will be run by one of the top private consulting firms in the country with a specialty in race-related conversations, VISIONS, Inc., which stands for Vigorous InterventionS In On-going Natural Settings. VISIONS workshops encourage uninhibited conversation on sensitive and emotional experiences related to identity and stereotypes. All participants, including journalists, will be asked to openly explore their personal perceptions of and experiences with race, stereotypes and other aspects of their own identities. For this workshop, VISIONS will bring together journalists and Flint community members as equals in a unique opportunity to explore mainstream media's coverage of disenfranchised communities with people who weathered the national spotlight. The workshop will involve a series of learning activities and frank conversations. People not participating in the workshop will not be permitted to observe. This is a non-SEJ-organized event. For more details contact VISIONS, Inc. at Pre-registration and $50 fee required. Breakfast and lunch included.
NOTE: This workshop is full.


SEJ Workshop

Video Production for Journalists

10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Boardroom B&C, Expo Center (in the Riverfront Conference Center)

Our original instructor for this class had flight issues and was unable to get to Flint for this workshop. However, we have locked down award-winning video journalist Eric Seals of the Detroit Free Press to take over. This workshop will now begin at 10 a.m., but breakfast will still be served at 8:30.
Eric is the recipient of a national Edward R. Murrow award, a national Webby Award, and multiple Michigan Press Photographer Association Multimedia Photographer of the Year awards for his work for the Detroit Free Press, where he's worked since 1999. He's taught workshops for the National Press Photographers Association, the Poynter Institute and the Missouri Photo Workshop. You can see some of his work here.

SEJ members only and space is limited. Pre-registration and $60 fee required. Breakfast and lunch included. Coverage.

Facilitator: Kevin Beaty, Multimedia Reporter, Denverite

Instructor: Eric Seals, Photo and Video Journalist, Detroit Free Press


SEJ/Climate Matters Collaborative Journalism Workshop

Telling Climate Change Stories that Matter:
From Impacts to Solutions

8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Suite D, Expo Center (in the Riverfront Conference Center)

Extreme weather. Economic losses. Threats to food and water. Americans are feeling the impact of climate change on their health, safety and wallets, but most don’t realize it. You will leave this workshop better able to report locally relevant stories. We will address the hottest topics in climate research, impacts and solutions, as well as audience interest and journalistic challenges. You’ll get access to National Science Foundation-funded localized climate reporting resources, including ready-to-use graphics. Space is limited and admission decisions will be made on a rolling basis, so apply ASAP by emailing Breakfast, lunch and one night of lodging are included. Coverage.
NOTE: This workshop is full. Email to be added to the waiting list.

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

Jeff Burnside, Independent Journalist
Dennis Dimick, Executive Environment Editor, National Geographic (retired)
Paul Gross, Meteorologist, WDIV-TV Channel 4, Detroit
Susan Hassol, Director, Climate Communication
Chuck Kutscher, Fellow, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute
Edward Maibach, Professor and Director, Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University
Michael Mann, Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director, Earth System Science Center, Pennsylvania State University
Meera Subramanian, Freelance Journalist
Bernadette Woods Placky, Meteorologist and Director of Climate Matters, Climate Central



2:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Location: Lobby

Pick up your badge and conference materials here. If you didn't sign up for the Thursday tours, 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.

2:00 - 6:00 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.


Meet-and-Greet Reception

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

We'll celebrate coming together again, this time along with local artists and their works, and we'll start the discussion about how water is often a major part of both the celebrations and struggles of all communities. Come say hello to SEJ's new executive director, Meaghan Parker, and share your ideas for SEJ's future with her and other attendees on how we can meet SEJ's goals, including increasing diversity in environmental journalism and supporting new journalists. Sponsored in part by the Value of Water Campaign.


Opening Dinner Event

Welcome to Flint, and Future of Autos Plenary

5:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Location: Expo Room/UM-Flint (reception and dinner); Factory One (plenary session; map).

Photo: Jason Robinson, courtesy of Factory One

When journalists flood a place following a disaster, local people often plead: Don't forget us. Come back. Well, thanks for the invitation, Flint. As hundreds of journalists gather to kick off SEJ's conference, we'll celebrate the strength, smarts and sounds of the Vehicle City. Hear what people learned from the water crisis that could help other communities responding to environmental disaster. Sponsored in part by the C.S. Mott Foundation. Cash-only bar. Coverage.

Emilia Askari, Journalist and Educator, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and Research Assistant, Michigan State University
Brian Bienkowski, Senior Editor, Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate

Kelli Crump, Associate Artist and Audience Engagement Facilitator, Flint Repertory Theater
LaShaya Darisaw, Community Activist
Tiara Darisaw, Youth Social and Political Advocate
Mona Hanna-Attisha, Pediatrician and Author, "What The Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City"
Bruce Lanphear, Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
Isaiah Oliver, President and Chief Executive Officer, Community Foundation of Greater Flint


Evening Plenary

Future of Cars

8:30 - 10:00 p.m.
Location: Factory One, 303 West Water Street, Flint (map)

Factory One is a very short walk from the Riverfront Conference Center. After the program at Factory One, we'll walk back to the Riverfront to catch shuttles back to hotels.

The panel will look at the big changes ahead, as autonomy, electrification and connectivity come together in the next few years to create the biggest change in car culture since the horse gave way to the horseless carriage. The private car could become obsolete, as consumers hail fleet-owned self-driving cars to get to their destinations. If current trends continue, the mobility traditions in place for more than a century — governing vehicle use, sales, service, branding, competition, parking, fueling and more — will be profoundly altered. This revolution holds promise for the planet. Today's cars are driven only five percent of the time, but electric fleet cars, in addition to being zero emission, will stay on the road 24/7. That means a much-smaller global auto park, perhaps a 70 percent reduction, and a corresponding drop in the need for the parking that currently occupies 50 to 60 percent of urban downtowns. There are a billion parking spaces in the U.S., four for every car on the road! Sponsored in part by General Motors. Coverage.

Moderator: Jim Motavalli, Freelance Environmental Journalist; Contributor, The New York Times, Car Talk at NPR; Author; and Radio Host, WPKN-FM

Michael Ableson, Vice President, Global Strategy, General Motors
John DeCicco, Research Professor, University of Michigan Energy Institute and Director, University of Michigan Energy Survey
Michelle Krebs, Automotive Writer; Executive Analyst, Autotrader; and former Senior Auto Analyst and Editor,


Thursday, October 4
Friday, October 5
Saturday, October 6
Sunday, October 7

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