Thinking about joining or supporting the Society of Environmental Journalists?

SEJ Stories from members and friends

Below are snippets from some of the accolades SEJ has received over the years.

Why I heart SEJ: Cynthia Barnett | Kari Birdseye |
Douglas Fischer and Peter Dykstra |
Talli Nauman | Lisa Palmer


SEJ: Co-winner of 2010 Gulbenkian International Prize
The Gulbenkian Foundation praised SEJ for giving journalists of varied backgrounds and experience “a high degree of understanding of multifaceted environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss and increasing pressure on essential water resources.” SEJ was also recognized for its awareness and fulfillment of the journalistic responsibility to produce “diverse, independent and accurate narratives, in areas characterized by conflicting interests as well as technical and scientific complexity.” Read more.



From left, David Helvarg, Bobby Magill and Lana Straub share why they support SEJ.

Roger Witherspoon

"What makes the environmental beat special is that it encompasses virtually every major newsroom beat. There is nothing else close to being that comprehensive. Every story dealing with energy — the extraction, processing, waste disposal, water usage, pollution, employment, taxes and attendant political issues — is considered environmental. The ongoing tug of war between the growing availability of renewable electricity generation — particularly wind and solar — and the economic interests of nuclear power and traditional utilities is an environmental fight as well. Every story dealing with resource management — public or private forest — and the rivers running throughout comes under the environmental umbrella. Issues of livestock management and farming are all environmental. So are issues involving flood control, wildfire management, fishing and wildlife management. The best place for reporters to find background information and contacts in all these topic areas is at the annual SEJ conference."

Roger Witherspoon, reporter, Huffington Post/Environment; Energy Matters;

Kathiann M. Kowalski

"Environmental journalism isn’t limited to narrow 'save the planet' issues, but encompasses safety, consumer matters, recreation, resource use, legal matters, and political, financial and business issues relevant to energy, transportation and other topics. Support for SEJ supports an important network that its journalists can draw on. Whether they need specific details or the big picture, SEJ can help reporters cover today’s important issues. With today’s financial pressures, it’s more important than ever for publications to support such networks. Supporting SEJ saves money and resources by ensuring that journalists won’t have to reinvent the wheel each time a new issue crops up. Support for SEJ boosts a publication’s reputation by getting its name and its reporters out there. Support for SEJ promotes excellence in journalism."

Kathiann M. Kowalski, freelance journalist

Elyssa Rosen Mentoring Fellows Share Their New Orleans Conference Experience

The 2014 Elyssa Rosen Memorial Mentoring Program Fund funded travel costs for the mentee-mentor pairs to meet up at SEJ's 24th Annual Conference in New Orleans.

Bill Moyers

"For several years I have had the occasion to work with the Society of Environmental Journalists, both as a journalist and as a funder.  I regularly make use of their Web site, TipSheet and their freedom of information WatchDog project. In 2005, I delivered the keynote address to their annual convention. My enthusiasm for these dogged, honest and essential journalists is boundless. Their work involves not just covering environmental news, but uncovering developments that communities need to know but which the powers-that-be would prefer to keep hidden. There is no other organization like SEJ in the country."

Bill Moyers, author and broadcast journalist

Pete Weitzel

"I write in support of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the extraordinary contribution Joe Davis and the WatchDog Project make in the fight for open government."

Read the entire letter (requires free Adobe Acrobat ® reader)

Pete Weitzel, coordinator, Coalition of Journalists for Open Government; former managing editor, Miami Herald

Walter Cronkite

"I would be honored to serve on the advisory board of the Society of Environmental Journalists."

Walter Cronkite (November 4, 1916 – July 17, 2009), Anchor, CBS News

SPJ Sunshine Award

SEJ was one of the seven winners of the Society of Professional Journalists' 2003 Sunshine Awards. Through this annual awards process, which is open and not limited to journalists, SPJ's board of directors and Freedom of Information Committee recognize individuals and groups for making important contributions in the area of open government. You can see all of the winners of this year's SPJ Sunshine Awards here.

The Society of Environmental Journalists won this year for creation of the WatchDog TipSheet, which keeps an eye on FOI issues on behalf of its members. The newsletter is available to SEJ members and journalists worldwide, though it focuses on the United States. The award recognizes the work of the SEJ Freedom of Information Task Force, led by Ken Ward Jr., and the work of Joe Davis, TipSheet and WatchDog TipSheet editor.

Judy Muller

"I thought the SEJ conference was, by far, the best journalism conference I have ever attended."

Judy Muller, broadcast journalist (ABC Nightline, World News tonight) and assistant professor, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California

Gregg Easterbrook

"The Society of Environmental Journalists is an eminent professional organization working hard to improve standards and balance in environmental reporting. SEJ is a force for the betterment of public debate on a critical issue."

Gregg Easterbrook, author and senior editor, The New Republic

Bill McKibben

"I am writing simply to express my support for the mission of the Society of Environmental Journalists. I am convinced that it is a worthwhile — even a necessary — organization. And in my lexicon, 'necessary' is one of the highest possible forms of praise."

Bill McKibben, author

Katie Hetrick

"Having worked at a series of small-town papers, I have to say SEJ has proved an invaluable link for me. Without it, I could have never explained corporate pollution, tackled recycling and conservation issues or addressed dozens of other environmental concerns that appear in everyone's back yard, even those in small towns. Small papers, and their not-so-well paid reporters, do not have the resources to read dozens of journals, attend scientific conferences or enjoy any of the other perks that would allow a reporter to truly stay current on a complicated topic like the environment. But with SEJ's help, I have a good idea what today's environmental issues are, learn ways I can get to information and see how to make my readers understand these issues. Without this group, I know our environmental coverage would suffer greatly and probably be forever limited to breaking stories about the fight over the local landfill. Thanks for all your work SEJ."

Katie Hetrick, Press Enterprise, Bloomsburg, PA

Russell Jones

"Just looking through some of the archived tipsheets and frankly, I'm blown away. There's a lot of work put into those...great work. If you could, please add me to the list."

Russell Jones, line producer, MSNBC, who found SEJ online and joined

Phil Shabecoff

"I look at the SEJ website religiously every day to keep up to the minute with the broad range of environmental news and environmental journalism. It has been an efficient and useful way to keep in contact with my colleagues and, when necessary, to ask for help. There is nothing else remotely like it."

Phil Shabecoff, author; former environmental correspondent for The New York Times; former publisher, Greenwire, an environmental news service

Aileen Harris Miller

"Thanks for recognizing the need to increase reporters of color on the environmental beat. I now know how important it is for reporters like myself to cover such issues. Before attending the conference I didn't know that there was even a career in environmental journalism, much less programs to prepare one for the field. Since returning from the conference I have written several articles and an editorial on environmental issues."

Aileen Harris Miller, Community Review, Decatur, GA

Cherie Campbell

"Bless SEJ!!! I am a returning college student majoring in environmental studies. I continue to run into reasons to pursue environmental journalism and your forum is fabulous! What a great way for people like myself to learn all about the field and how to go about streamlining my education."

Cherie Campbell, student, Oregon

James Eli Shiffer

"I've only belonged to SEJ for three years, but I can't imagine trying to do my job without it. Environmental journalism is one of the bright spots in our profession today, and I am always astonished at the level of knowledge, commitment and creativity among my peers in SEJ. My colleagues are always "green" with envy that I have such a resource, and that environmental writers communicate with each other in a way so many other journalists don't. The listserv, SEJournal and the conferences have introduced me to stories, sources and fellow reporters that enrich my work every day. Environmental coverage would be much the poorer without the Society of Environmental Journalists."

James Eli Shiffer, The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC