Volunteer With SEJ

Image of handsVolunteers are the lifeblood of SEJ. Member-volunteers organize tours and panels for the conference, implement the awards program, contribute to the SEJournal, serve as mentors and sit on any number of committees. Absent our member-volunteers, SEJ could not achieve the results it does.



Annual Conference. The conference is SEJ’s signature event, and panels are organized by and for journalists. A call for pitches is typically sent to members six to eight months prior to the conference dates (sign up for conference information). If your idea is accepted, you’ll need to recruit a diverse slate of speakers, including a moderator if that’s not you. Volunteers are also needed to lead tours/mini-tours.

Time commitment: Regular progress toward the goal over about six months, plus conference attendance
Contact: Jay Letto, conference director

Awards. SEJ's Awards for Reporting on the Environment honor the best environmental journalism in 10 categories, bringing recognition to the most important stories on the planet. Screeners and judges help determine which among hundreds of stories are most award-worthy. Volunteers should be active or retired journalists, or former journalists currently working in a job closely related to journalism (such as professors or journalism educators).

Time commitment: Two screeners are needed for each category, to reduce the number of entries to 35-40, over approximately five-six weeks in June/July 2024. Read the screeners job description. Three judges per category begin late July, with a deadline of September 10, 2024. Read the judges job description.
Criteria: Judges and screeners must be journalists or professors, or working in an area closely related to journalism such as journalism training (current or retired). Judges must bring an unbiased view to the awards, not selecting, e.g., favorite environmental issues but looking at the value of each news story. Judges must read and be familiar with SEJ Awards Rules and must be able to access entries online via Submittable, a contest cloud service which requires the latest version of the CHROME browser.
Contact: sej@sej.org

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. The DEI Committee works with board members/committees, SEJ members and related groups to ensure SEJ is diverse, equitable and inclusive of all races, gender identities, socioeconomic statuses, ages, backgrounds, and physical and intellectual abilities. Committee members help plan events and gatherings centered around DEI work; build and strengthen relationships with affinity groups such as NABJ, NAJA, NAHJ; plan and execute projects to improve DEI in SEJ and in environmental journalism.

Time commitment: 1-10 hours per month, depending on project
Contact:  Nadia Lopez (committee co-chair) or Rico Moore (committee co-chair)

Mentor Program. SEJ’s mentor program pairs veteran environmental reporters with newcomers to the beat or less-experienced reporters who want to improve their skills. Mentors typically critique stories and offer advice to their mentees.

Time commitment: At least a year of periodic (4x or more) communication with your partner
Contact: Apply through the program page.

SEJournal. Each week, SEJournal Online brings members and other readers in-depth insight into the environment beat through TipSheets, Backgrounders and special reports, as well as features and columns submitted by members. These cover a range of topics and expertise, including visual journalism, teaching techniques, the stories behind award-winning work and tips for surviving as an independent journalist. SEJournal also periodically seeks volunteer editors to help with existing or new columns.

Time commitment: For writing, typically 2-3 hours per feature. For editing, typically 4-6 hours per quarter, depending on the column frequency.
Contact: Adam Glenn, editor



SEJ’s board also appoints members of the society to a range of committees that help advance SEJ’s goals and programs. These include:


Interested in assuming other leadership positions? SEJ annually elects members to the board of directors, which sets organizational goals and is responsible for ensuring that SEJ remains financially sound. Please get in touch to learn more about board responsibilities. SEJ’s board also recruits society members with a diverse range of experience, including fundraising, finance, and nonprofit management, for various standing committees.
Contact: Jenny Bogo, co-chair of the Governance Committee