Wednesday, October 10, 2012

National Science Foundation funds U. of Montana's rural environmental reporting initiative

University of Montana (Brooke Andrus)
The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Montana’s School of Journalism $250,000 to improve the quality and quantity of environmental science news as it affects Montana's most rural communities. Martin Kidston of The Missoulian reports that this type of reporting is needed at a time when access to local news has decreased and when "the debates surrounding key environmental issues facing the West often take place in a vacuum, where choices are shaped by one’s political orientation and the opinions generated by the local rumor mill."

Alison Perkins, adjunct journalism instructor at UM, told Kidston that "the grant will help develop a model for reporting environmental science news, using student reporters who are studying environmental science and natural resource journalism at the graduate level as writers. 'I think there’s a climate that’s not really open to environmental stories because there’s the fear that they come from an advocacy position,' said Perkins."

The new program, dubbed Science Source, will be modeled after The Associated Press, working with editors in print, radio, online and television to identify and produce stories that fit the media’s specific needs and that reach the largest audience possible. (Read more)

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