Teaching environmental journalism

© 2008 SEJ and its licensors. All rights reserved.
Many SEJ members teach environmental journalism at the university level, either as a second job or as a full-time faculty member. Whether you're a first-time teacher or a veteran, this page includes resources to help you do the job well.

SEJ operates the SEJ-edu e-mail listserv to serve as a forum for teachers and students to exchange information about teaching and learning environmental journalism. If you're an SEJ member, we welcome your participation. To join the listserv, send an e-mail to SEJ records manager Linda Knouse. The listserv is managed by Dave Poulson, who can also tell you about the new Environmental Journalism Association that students have formed at Michigan State University — an idea SEJ hopes will spread to other campuses.

SEJ encourages journalism teachers to use SEJ resources in their classes. We welcome teachers and students as members and offer a special reduced rate of $15 to students joining SEJ for the first time. Students are entitled to the full benefits of SEJ membership, including participation in SEJ listservs, the mentoring program and discounted registration at SEJ conferences.

Elsewhere on the SEJ web site, you can find a list of environmental journalism programs and courses. Another page includes links about research into environmental communication. A non-SEJ web page that you might find useful is the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment.

Here are links to syllabi and other course materials from environmental journalism classes around the world:
University of California-Berkeley, Getting it Right: Crafting a Scientifically Sound Report, M. Dowie
Columbia University, Environmental Reporting, M. Holloway
Cornell University, Science Writing for Mass Media, B. Lewenstein
Lehigh University, Basic Science, Environmental and Technical Writing, K. Friedman
Lehigh University, Environment, The Public and The Media, S. Friedman
Loyola University New Orleans, Covering the Environmental Beat, R. Thomas
Loyola University New Orleans, Environmental Communication, R. Thomas
University of Michigan, Environmental Journalism: Reporting about Science, Policy & Public Health, E. Askari
Michigan State University, Environmental Film Making, J. Jabara and J. Detjen
Michigan State University, Environmental Investigative Reporting, D. Poulson
Michigan State University, Health and Science Writing, J. Detjen
Michigan State University, Reporting about Health, Science and Environmental Controversies, J. Detjen
Michigan State University, Reporting on Sprawl and the Environment, D. Poulson
Michigan State University, Reporting on the SEJ 10th Annual Conference in East Lansing, MI, J. Detjen
Michigan State University, Senior Seminar: Case Studies in Science, Env'l & Health Controversies, J. Detjen
Michigan State University and University of New South Wales, Media, Tourism, Environment and Cultural Issues in Australia, D. Poulson
New York University, Environmental Reporting, D. Fagin
Radford University, Science and Environment Writing, B. Kovarik
University of St. Thomas, Environmental Journalism, M. Neuzil
State University of New York at Albany, Environmental Journalism, D. Willman
University of Victoria (Canada), Environmental Journalism, P. Fairley

Note: If you teach environmental journalism at the university level, please add your syllabus to this list by e-mailing it to SEJ's Director of Programs and Operations Chris Rigel. Most syllabi are in PDF format, requiring the free Adobe Acrobat ® reader

Some textbooks used in environmental journalism classes:

  • Communicating Uncertainty: Media Coverage of New and Controversial Science, by S. Friedman etc. (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999)
  • Covering Pollution, by L. Luechtefeld for Investigative Reporters and Editors in cooperation with the Society of Environmental Journalists (IRE, 2004)
  • A Field Guide for Science Writers, by D. Blum etc. (Oxford University Press, 1998)
  • Covering the Environment: How Journalists Work the Green Beat, by R. Wyss (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007)
  • Grassroots Journalism, by E. Williams (Dollars & Sense, 2007)
  • Green Ink: An Introduction to Environmental Journalism, by M. Frome (University of Utah Press, 1998)
  • Mass Media and Environmental Conflict: America's Green Crusades, by M. Neuzil (Sage Publications, 1996)
  • Media and the Environment, edited by C. Lamay and E. Dennis (Island Press, 1991)
  • News & Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Other Fields, by V. Cohn etc. (Iowa State University Press, 2001)
  • The Reporter's Environmental Handbook, by B. West etc. (Rutgers University Press, 2003)
  • Search for a Common Language: Environmental Writing And Education, edited by M. Graulich and P. Crumbley (Utah State University Press, 2005)
  • Writing Green: Advocacy & Investigative Reporting about the Environment in the Early 21st Century, by D. Schwartz (Loyola College/Apprentice House, 2006)

In addition, the Environmental Journalism Center at the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation has published a series of excellent guides on environmental reporting. See also the special Environment Reporting section in the Winter 2002 issue of Nieman Reports.

Do you have ideas for additional features for this page? Contact SEJ web content manager Cindy MacDonald.

Back to the top

The Society of Environmental Journalists
P.O. Box 2492 Jenkintown, PA 19046
Telephone: (215) 884-8174 Fax: (215) 884-8175


© 1994 Society of Environmental Journalists
The SEJ logo is a registered trademark ® of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Neither the logo nor anything else from the sej.org domain may be reproduced without written consent of the Society of Environmental Journalists. All graphics © SEJ and its licensors. All rights reserved.