Shop Notes

Dispatch from 'Covering the Green Economy'

Posted: June 29, 2010 | Tags: Reynolds Business Center, stimulus

Reynolds Business Center

For the past day and a half I've been in Phoenix at the Covering the Green Economy conference at ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. The conference, organized and hosted by the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism, was organized to give local reporters insight into covering the green economy.

It's a great topic. With the challenges we face as a nation economically and environmentally, green business is only going to become a bigger and bigger part of our world. But it's also a topic area that involves a heavy dose of science and a lot of hype. Too often, reporters are too intimidated or unaware how to really sort through and find out what's real - and what's not in this complex arena.

The Reynolds Center paid to bring about 20 local journalists to Phoenix. I was asked to talk to the group about my reporting on some of the green energy parts of last year's stimulus package for the Workshop. Turns out the $787 billion package is the biggest piece of green legislation … ever.

I had a great time talking to the reporters - it's a fantastic group with some really strong credentials, that, frankly, intimidated and impressed me with their collective experience and accomplishments (Check out their bios). But, they were eager to learn more about the stimulus and I'm always happy to talk about my work. The amazing people at Reynolds captured my talk - both video and my PowerPoint - and you can check it out for free.

If you don't have time to watch my entire presentation (it's over an hour), you can read a quick summary put together by the Reynolds people here. Recordings of all the presentations, which will continue through Wednesday afternoon and will be posted as they go, also are available.

One of the best parts of the conference has been getting to meet fellow environmental journalists - many of them investigative - and hearing what they're working on and sharing what I've learned. It's also interesting to note that non-profit investigative journalists are well-represented here. Besides myself, at least two other presenters work in this world:
•    Susanne Rust: A former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter who was a 2009 finalist for both a Pulitzer Prize and the Grantham Prize for environmental reporting for her "Chemical Fallout" series on BPA. Susanne started as an environmental investigative reporter at California Watch last week.
•    Gary Cohn: A contributor/project coordinator, also at California Watch, and winner of the 1998 Pulitzer for his series on ship-breaking at the Baltimore Sun.

And there are several really cool non-profit investigative journalists attending:
•    Brentin Mock, from the New Orleans-based non-profit outfit, The Lens.
•    Kate Sheppard, from Mother Jones' D.C.-bureau, and non-profit collaboration, Climate Desk.
•    David Poulson, associate director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University, and editor of the Great Lakes Echo, a news service that uses new media techniques to report on environmental issues in the Great Lakes region.

By the time you read this, I will be on my way back to Washington, but I'll be following the rest of the conference closely, and I can't wait to follow up on some of the great ideas that have been kicked around here.

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