Science and environment writing - Class Calendar

Notes:

Each week students should be prepared to discuss or turn in the following:
  1. Most important - Your research report, or interview, or writing assignment.
  2. Current events, Reading and discussion notes -- Be prepared for the discussion. We start with current events and follow with reading assignments. Your assigned area of interest is a special responsibility in terms of current events.
  3. Questions for the guest speaker - to show you have read the advance material and to get you thinking about the topic - also on your group page. You may also be asked to write a quick summary lead concerning the speaker's main points.
  4. There will also be special projects, committee work, suggested lectures in other departments and field trips.

Speakers

  • Sept 15 -- Craig Saunders, host of Toronto's EJ pub night and freelance science and environment writer
  • Sept 23 -- Judith McKenzie, author of Environmental Politics in Canada
  • Oct 6 -- Saul Chernos, Toronto freelance environmental writer
  • Oct 16 (Friday) -- Helen Caldicott, author of If You Love this Planet and Nuclear Power is not the Answer -- Here's a recent video
  • Nov 10 -- Roger Witherspoon, editor, Black Engineer (nuclear power)
  • Nov 17 -- David Egilman, Brown University (asbestos)
  • Dec 1 -- Bud Ward, contributing editor Yale 360 (climate change)

September

Sept 8 -- Introductions

    • Background and current status of Environmental Journalism ( Download Powerpoint )
      • Research and reading resources
    • Get organized
    • Reading --
    • Assignment-- Environmental History / Using historical resources, esp. Pro-Quest databases or other newspaper sources, explore an environmental issue before Silent Spring (before 1964). See the Environmental History Timeline for ideas about events and issues. Be sure to use a variety of appropriate search terms, such as: public health, conservation, preservation of nature, smoke abatement, municipal housekeeping, occupational disease, air pollution and water pollution.
      • Your assignment should describe three articles:
        • Headline, byline, date, publication
        • How was the event reported?
        • Who were the authorities cited?
        • What approach was used? (positivistic science, sensationalism, political partisanship, etc)
        • Your conclusions / comparisons concerning how issue is handled today
      • Turn in assignment by email by 9 am Monday Sept. 14
Sept 15 - Topic - Environmental History and political theory
  • Reading & discussion -- Wyss, Ch. 2, History of Environmental communications;
    • McKenzie introduction & Ch 1 and Ch 2 Environmentalism as a social movement ,
  • Prepare for guest lecturer
  • Special projects: Anyone covering Sept. 20-22 Canadian Wind Energy Association? (Toronto) -- Press credentials limited to 5 students
Sept 22 - Topic - Canadian environmental movements
  • Prepare for guest lecturer -- Judith McKenzie, University of Guelph, author of "Environmental Politics in Canada"
  • Reading & discussion -- McKenzie Ch 3 government role, Ch 4 Natural Resources
  • Special projects: Sept. 24 - 27, Youth Conference for Sustainabile Leadership (Guelph)
Sept 29 - Topic - Climate Science
  • Reading & discussion -- Wyss Chs 3 - 4 Understanding Risk, Understanding Science
October
Oct 6 - Topic - Interviewing skills
  • Special projects: Prepare for trip to Society of Environmental Journalists conference Madison Wisconsin
Oct 13 - Topic - Comparing notes from SEJ conference -
  • Writing critiques
  • Reading & discussion / Orwell especially.
  • Assignment: Write introduction for Dr Caldicott
  • Special projects
Oct 20 - Topic - Environmental regulation
  • Individual sessions
  • Reading list to be posted
  • ,Wyss Ch. 9 Short news stories;
Oct 27 - Topic - Writing about natural resources
November
Nov 3 - Topic - Structural issues, health and security
  • Writing critique
  • Research --CAR / Enviro-data
  • Reading & discussion -- Wyss Ch. 10 Longer news stories; McKenzie Ch 5 Health and Security
Nov 10 - Topic - International environmental issues
  • Writing critique
  • Reading & discussion -- Wyss Ch 8, Reporting tools, climate report
  • News University -- Covering climate change, covering drinking water www.newsu.org
Nov 17 - Topic - Public opinion and the environment
  • Challenge -- Three pollution stories - asbestos, dioxin, ozone
  • Three pollutants - Asbestos, dioxin, ozone
    • Handout -- Media and Science by David Rall
  • Guest lecturer: David Egilman, Prof. of Public Health, Brown University
  • Covering science - 20 essential points (From Sherry Seethaler's Lies, Damned Lies and Science)
  • Seven warning signs of vodoo science
  • Climate Change as a special case
  • Assignment: Reading & discussion -- Wyss Ch. 12 Public Opinion
  • Special projects: content analysis (assignment)
Nov 24 - Topic - Training and environmental journalism
  • Writing critique
  • Reading & discussion -- Wyss Ch 15 -- Fairness and advocacy
  • Prepare for guest lecturer
  • Special projects:

December

Dec 1 - Climate Change

Dec 8 - The Future of Environmental Journalism

  • Last critiques
  • Reading & discussion -- Wyss Ch 16 - Future of Environmental Journalism
  • Special projects: