SEJ's 29th Annual Conference Agenda — Wednesday






Agenda Coverage Sponsors Exhibitors/Advertisers About Fort Collins




Wednesday, October 9, 2019

All sessions, as well as registration, exhibits and breaks, took place at CSU’s Lory Student Center,
1101 Center Avenue Mall, Fort Collins, CO 80521, unless otherwise indicated.


Workshop 1. Covering Indian Country, Public Lands and Environmental Justice in the West

8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Room 386, CSU's Lory Student Center

Pre-registration and $60 fee required. Breakfast and lunch included. SEJ members only.

We’ll begin with the do’s and don’ts, pitfalls and possibilities when reporting in Indian Country and on tribal issues in an effort to push reporters past (stereo)typical coverage and toward stories that will enlighten both Native and non-Native audiences. Topics will include data reporting, best practices and ethics, three-dimensional coverage, and content analysis all designed to move newsrooms from using Native people as sources to be studied and reported on, to engaged audiences. Other sessions will examine Hispanic culture in the rural West and provide tips when searching for public lands records. We’ll end the day examining the state of public lands reporting and discuss how to weave holistic narrative into the discussion. Too often, stories focus on history and land ownership starting with white settlers, with little or no mention of Indigenous communities, past or present. This panel will provide resources for richer reporting on public lands and explore how embracing the mythology of an unsettled West can undermine ethical journalism.


8:00 a.m.    Breakfast served

8:30 a.m.    Introductions and set the stage for the day
Emcee: Judy Fahys, News Reporter, InsideClimate News

9:00-10:30 a.m.    Covering Indian Country and Tribal Affairs
Experienced reporters will share practical tips on how to cover Indigenous communities and produce culturally competent, high-impact work. From picking stories to maintaining relationships with communities, this panel will be ideal for newsrooms looking to cover tribal affairs effectively.

Moderator: Nick Martin, Staff Writer, The New Republic

Alastair Bitsóí, Communications Director, Utah Diné Bikéyah
Kalen Goodluck, Journalist and Photographer
Anna Smith, Assistant Editor, High Country News

10:30-10:45 a.m.    Coffee break

10:45 a.m.-Noon    Hispanic Culture and Environmental Justice in the West
From early Spanish explorers, Mestizos and recent Latin American immigrants, the West has a long storied history of Hispanic and Latino culture. But, increasingly, racism and environmental injustices plague many communities. Panelists will discuss the intersection of social, cultural, economic and environmental justice issues in Hispanic communities and everything from farmworkers' environmental health concerns to Latino conservation efforts.

Moderator: Yvette Cabrera, Independent Environmental Justice Reporter and 2019 McGraw Fellow

Armando Elenes, Secretary Treasurer, United Farm Workers
Chela Garcia, Director of Conservation Programs, Hispanic Access Foundation
Beatriz Soto, Latino Outreach Coordinator, Defiende Nuestra Tierra - Wilderness Workshop

Noon-1:00 p.m.    Lunch and Session: Attracting and Supporting Indigenous Staff
Whether your newsroom is new to covering Indigenous communities or you have experienced reporters on staff with connections to tribal affairs, the choices your newsroom makes can lead to success or ruin. This panel will offer practical advice for attracting, supporting and retaining reporters with experience in Indian Country with the goal of building the best team to create the best work.

Moderator: Nick Martin, Staff Writer, The New Republic

Brian Calvert, Editor-in-Chief, High Country News
Anna Smith, Assistant Editor, High Country News

1:00-2:00 p.m.    Mining Public Records for Stories on Public Lands
News is about change, and there’s been a whole lotta change in the management of U.S. public lands lately. The Trump administration is moving to open millions of acres to oil and gas development and recently put an outspoken critic of public lands in power at the Bureau of Land Management. This session will offer tips on how to dig out stories about what’s happening and what’s at stake.

>> Resources (PDF)

Moderator: Tim Wheeler, Managing Editor, (Chesapeake) Bay Journal and Chair, Freedom of Information Task Force, Society of Environmental Journalists

Jimmy Tobias, Independent Reporter
Tim Whitehouse, Executive Director, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Laurel Williams, US Public Lands and Rivers Conservation Program, The Pew Charitable Trusts

2:00-3:30 p.m.    Public Lands Reporting From the Extremes: How to Cover Holistically
This panel will talk with reporters and editors covering anti-government groups, anti-American Indian organizations and other extremists, which often coalesce around conflicts over public land. Who is the public, and how does that echo through extreme views? Whose land is at the center of the debate, and whose land was it? We'll hear from local reporters and regional editors on how to cover public lands holistically from Bears Ears to Bundy to the Flathead Valley. The goal is to better prepare reporters who cover these conflicts, to seek the nuance and context to tell better stories whether they're freelance, local or national reporters.

Moderator: Anna Smith, Assistant Editor, High Country News

Brian Calvert, Editor-in-Chief, High Country News
Kalen Goodluck, Journalist and Photographer
Bill Morlin, Freelance Journalist


Workshop 2. Climate Reporting Master Class, Presented by Climate Matters in the Newsroom

8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Room 382, CSU's Lory Student Center


  • Susan Hassol (Moderator and Speaker) Climate Communication
  • Scott Denning (Speaker) Climate Scientist and Professor of Atmospheric Science, Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, Colorado State University
  • Chuck Kutscher (Speaker) University of Colorado
  • Ed Maibach (Speaker) George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication
  • Luke Runyon (Speaker) KUNC, Community Radio for Northern Colorado
  • Meera Subramanian (Speaker) Barron Visiting Prof of Environment & Humanities , Princeton University
  • Brad Udall (Speaker) Senior Scientist/Scholar, Colorado State University
  • Bernadette Woods Placky (Speaker) Chief Meteorologist and Climate Matters Director, Climate Central, Climate Matters in the Newsroom

This workshop includes breakfast (served at 8:00 a.m.) and lunch. Cost for 25 SEJ members will be covered by Climate Matters in the Newsroom’s National Science Foundation funding. The first 25 qualifying applicants to register for the workshop will be accepted and later registrants will be on a waiting list. A stipend to help cover the cost of the additional night in a conference hotel will be provided. Registration is open to SEJ members, with a preference for professional journalists. Registration for the workshop can be completed when registering for the conference.

This full-day workshop will equip reporters in all media to tell local climate stories that matter to their audiences. We’ll quickly review the basics of climate change and then do deep dives with top experts on climate and water issues and clean energy solutions. Journalists successfully tackling the challenge of local climate reporting will discuss their experiences. New localized climate reporting resources will be introduced and discussed and we will use them in hands-on practice.


Workshop 3. A Hostile Environment: Surviving Journalism

8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Room 372-374, CSU's Lory Student Center


  • Dale Willman (Emcee) Resilience Science Journalism Fellowship - CUNY

Pre-registration and $60 fee required. Breakfast and lunch included. SEJ members and journalists only. Sign up here (you'll need your log-in information or to create a profile).

Staying safe while doing your job is no longer just for those reporters who work in war zones. In recent years domestic reporters have been arrested, and sometimes injured, simply by doing their job – covering pipeline protests, police activities and even covering Trump rallies. And these aren’t the only threats we now face. Even if you work at your desk, the risk of on-line harassment continues to grow. This workshop will offer you basic skills and tips on surviving harassment and staying safe, even under the worst of circumstances. We'll also discuss how efforts to foment distrust in the media are increasing the risks journalists face, and what we can do to rebuild trust.


8:00-8:30 a.m.    Breakfast, Workshop Registration

8:30-9:00 a.m.    Welcome, Introduction

9:00 a.m.-Noon    Reporting Safely
Journalist safety while covering a major crisis has always been important. But today safety concerns are sometimes present even in stories that in the past were considered safe. More and more, journalists are becoming targets. What can you do to be safer in your work? A freelance journalist who works with Columbia University and the Dart Center will discuss model risk assessment. Participants will be walked through how to respond to a number of different types of threats, and we'll discuss covering civil unrest and dealing with aggressive authorities, all while remaining safe.

Speaker: Judith Matloff, Freelance Journalist, Author and Adjunct Faculty, Columbia Journalism School

9:00-10:30 a.m.    Physical Safety
10:30-10:40 a.m.  Break
10:40 a.m.-Noon   Physical Safety, Pt. 2

Noon-12:40 p.m.    Keynote: Rebuilding Trust in the Media
Some of the threats and harassment that journalists face are driven by a deep mistrust and contempt for news media. But around the world, a free press is the foundation of democratic societies. To protect journalists — and our democracy — we need to understand the roots of this distrust. The Society of Professional Journalists launched The Casper Project to gain a deeper understanding of the reasons so many people distrust news organizations and their reporting. Join SPJ's Journalist on Call for a presentation and discussion on steps we can take to increase trust and make journalism — and democracy — safer for all.

Speaker: Rod Hicks, Journalist on Call, Society of Professional Journalists

12:40-1:30 p.m.    Panel Discussion: Safety in the Field

Moderator: Dale Willman, Freelance Newscaster, Program Director, NPR, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

Gloria Dickie, Freelance Journalist
Emily Gertz, Journalist, Entrepreneur and Member, SEJ Freedom of Information Task Force
Rod Hicks, Journalist on Call, Society of Professional Journalists
Additional Speakers TBA

1:30-3:30 p.m.    Online Safety
In response to the growing threat that online hate and harassment pose to free expression, PEN America has developed a first-of-its-kind digital toolkit, the "Online Harassment Field Manual." The manual is based on extensive research and interviews with writers, journalists, technology experts, editors, newsrooms and advocacy groups. Join us for a training session filled with practical strategies and comprehensive resources to defend yourself against online harassment.

Speaker: Viktorya Vilk, Manager of Special Projects for Free Expression Programs, PEN America


SPJ Casper Project:

>> Safety and Security, Rory Peck Trust
>> Casper Project report
>> Project web page
>> 7-minute video explaining project
>> Forum featuring national journalists
>> Washington Post column on project

PEN America:

>> Online Harassment Field Manual
>> PEN's survey on impact of online abuse
>> Cybersecurity handout


SEJ Student Newsroom

8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Room 376-378, CSU's Lory Student Center


  • Joe Champ (Facilitator) CSU Dept. of Journ. & Media Com.

You’re a student assigned to cover happenings at a big conference. Need a place to work? Equipment to get it done? A few editing ideas from seasoned veterans? Checkout the SEJ Student Newsroom. Located at the heart of the conference site, it’s a space to work, learn and chill. Environmental journalists will stop by to offer advice and mentoring. The newsroom will be outfitted with Internet-connected desktop computers and field equipment for checkout (e.g., video/still cameras, pods, lights, mics, audio recorders, etc.). In addition, the special programming developed just for environmental journalism students will be available at the newsroom. See the SEJ Student Newsroom on Wednesday (4:30 p.m.), Friday and Saturday for more information on these programs.

If you are interested in finding out more about how to participate at the SEJ Student Newsroom and related events, please contact Dr. Joe Champ, Department of Journalism and Media Communication, Colorado State University at


Afternoon Meet and Greet

3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Grand Ballroom, CSU's Lory Student Center

Join up with old friends and meet new ones. Check out innovative virtual reality demos and browse the works of local artists. Come meet SEJ board and staff, and share your ideas for SEJ's future.

Beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres sponsored by Environmental Defense Fund.


SEJ Student Newsroom: Fooling With Google Tooling

4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Room 376-378, CSU's Lory Student Center

A Teaching Fellow at the Google News Lab will demo cool new data collection and visualization tools. Mapping and Geo software allows you to make custom maps, do drone-like flyovers of an area with Google Earth Studio or even look at change over time with the historical time-lapse function.

STUDENTS ONLY. Snacks and soft drinks provided. Must be registered for the conference to attend. If you are interested in finding out more about how to participate at the SEJ Student Newsroom and related events, please contact Dr. Joe Champ, Department of Journalism and Media Communication, Colorado State University at


Opening Reception and Dinner: Welcome to Colorado!

5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Grand Ballroom, CSU's Lory Student Center


  • Susan Moran (Emcee) freelance journalist; conference co-chair
  • Josh Zaffos (Emcee) High Country News/ Colorado State University and Conference Co-Chair
  • Joel Berger (Speaker) Professor and Barbara Cox Anthony University Chair in Wildlife Conservation, Department of FWC Biology, Colorado State University; Senior Scientist, Wildlife Conservation Society; and Author, “Extreme Conservation: Life at the Edges of the World” and “The Better to Eat You With: Fear in the Animal World”
  • Autumn Bernhardt (Speaker) Lecturer, Colorado State University
  • Dominique David-Chavez (Speaker) Native Nations Institute & Colorado State University
  • Camille Dungy (Speaker) English Department
  • Kathleen Galvin (Speaker) Professor, Department of Anthropology, and Director of the Africa Center, Colorado State University
  • Bobby Magill (Speaker) Reporter, Bloomberg Environment, and SEJ President
  • Rick Miranda (Speaker) Provost and Executive Vice President, Colorado State University
  • Cary Morin (Musician) Guitar Picker, Performer and Crow Tribal Member
  • Diana Wall (Speaker) University Distinguished Professor, Director, School of Global Environmental Sustainability and Professor, Department of Biology, Colorado State University

The bar opens early, so grab a drink and mingle. Chat with colleagues and network with sources. Browse the creations of Colorado artists and learn about groundbreaking research on environmental issues at a scientists' poster session. Elected officials, renowned scientists, Native American leaders and distinguished writers will share welcoming remarks and brief presentations to introduce you to Colorado and the conference. A state known for its towering mountains, rivers and a booming recreation economy, Colorado is a leader in renewable energy development and climate action. At the same time, the state has welcomed and benefited economically from an oil and gas boom, and it is now grappling with how to balance these seemingly conflicting ideals and goals.

Colorado is also home to pioneering national labs and research institutions. Tonight you’ll learn how research by Colorado scientists spans the globe — from the Far North to the South Pole — in both geographic reach and impact.

3:45-5:30 p.m.   Meet & Greet, open bar
5:30-6:00 p.m.   Close bar, move bar, set up cash bar
6:00-7:00 p.m.   Poster session, cash bar, light hors d'oeuvres
7:00-8:15 p.m.   Program and cash bar


Thursday, October 10
Friday, October 11
Saturday, October 12
Sunday, October 13

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