SEJ Board & Staff

The 2020-21 SEJ board (minus Sara Shipley Hiles), during the December 5, 2020 virtual board meeting. Click to enlarge.

 

SEJ Board of Directors 2020-2021

Sadie Babits, President
Emily Gertz, First Vice Pres. & Programs Chair
Michael Kodas, Second Vice Pres. & Membership Chair
Kathiann Kowalski, Treasurer & Finance Chair
Laura Paskus, Secretary
Judy Fahys
Maya Kapoor
Bobby Magill
Donovan Quintero
Sara Schonhardt
Meera Subramanian
Sara Shipley Hiles, Rep. for Academic Membership
Jennifer Bogo, Rep. for Associate Membership

Ex Officio Board Member
Jim Detjen, Founding President

SEJ Board Member Job Description

SEJ Staff

Meaghan Parker, Executive Director
Beth Parke, Founding Executive Director
Christine Bruggers, Deputy Director/Director of Awards
Jay Letto, Director of Annual Conferences
Meagan Jeanette (MJ), Marketing and Programs Associate

SEJ Project Consultants

Joseph A. Davis, TipSheet and FOI WatchDog Director and Editor; Member, SEJ FOI Task Force
Adam Glenn, SEJournal Online Editor; Member, Editorial Advisory Board
Cindy MacDonald, Web Content Manager

SEJ Advisory Boards, Committees and Task Forces

Advisory Board
Audit Committee
Awards Committee
Editorial Advisory Board
Elections Committee
Finance Committee
Freedom of Information Task Force
Fundraising Committee
Governance Committee
Membership Committee
Past Board Presidents
Programs Committee


SEJ Board of Directors 2020-21

 

President

Sadie Babits is a public media journalist, editor and educator based in Phoenix, Arizona. She's a professor of practice at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication where she is the sustainability director in the Cronkite News/Arizona PBS newsroom. She teaches students how to cover environmental stories as multimedia journalists. Sadie received a prestigious Ted Scripps Fellowship in Environmental Reporting in 2017-2018 to focus on public lands reporting. Previously Sadie was the News Director at Colorado Public Radio where she guided and edited daily and long-term coverage for this statewide network. Her work has aired on National Public Radio shows including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and has been recognized nationally with an Edward R. Murrow Award for Investigative Journalism and by the Society of Environmental Journalists. She’s reported from Kenya, Israel and many places in between, but she calls the West home where she can often be found exploring trails on her mountain bike. Current term: 2020-23. Contact Sadie.

 

First Vice President and Programs Chair
Emily J. Gertz is a veteran reporter and editor who has covered local, national and international environment, climate and energy stories for Drilled, HuffPost, Popular Science, Men’s Journal, The Guardian, Scientific American, Audubon, Dwell, Sierra, OnEarth, Grist, Reveal, Rolling Stone and more. From March 2018 through December 2019 she published the newsletter "(de)regulation nation: bad, better, good and great environmental news in the Trump era," which she developed and launched during her 2018 Tow-Knight Entrepreneurial Journalism Fellowship at the City University of New York’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. From 2014 to 2016, Emily was an associate editor for environment and wildlife at TakePart/Participant Media. She has co-authored two Maker Media books on do-it-yourself environmental monitoring, and contributed to “The Science Writers’ Handbook” and “Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century.”  Find her on Twitter @ejgertz and online at emilygertz.com. Board member 2013-2014. Current term 2018-2021. Contact Emily.

 

Second Vice President and Membership Chair
Michael Kodas, senior editor of Inside Climate News, is an award-winning author, reporter, photojournalist and journalism educator as well as the former Deputy Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder. He was the winner of the 2018 Colorado Book Award for General Nonfiction for his book, "Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame," which was also named one of the 20 best nonfiction books of 2017 by Amazon. He is also the author of "High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed," which was named Best Non-Fiction in USA Book News’ National Best Books Awards of 2008 and was the subject of a question on the game show Jeopardy. In 1999 he was part of the team at The Hartford Courant awarded The Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage and has been honored with awards from the Pictures of Year International competition, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition and the National Press Photographers Association. His work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Denver Post, Newsweek, National Geographic News, Mother Jones and many other publications. His photography was featured in the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary "The Vietnam War" and he has appeared on the HBO program "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," in the American Experience documentary "The Big Burn" on PBS and more. From 2013 to 2019 Kodas was one of the directors of the prestigious Ted Scripps Fellowships in Environmental Journalism, which brings five mid-career journalists focused on environmental topics to the University of Colorado Boulder. Kodas was a Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado (2009-10), a Davidoff Scholar at the Wesleyan Writers Workshop (2005) and is a graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. Current term: 2019-2022. Contact Michael.

 

Treasurer and Finance Chair
Kathiann M. Kowalski is a freelance journalist based in Ohio. She’s written 25 books and more than 750 articles spanning a wide range of environmental, science and social issues. Her work has appeared in Energy News Network, Science News for Students, Eye on Ohio, Cobblestone, Front Vision, American Forests and other publications. Her work has garnered awards from the Ohio chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of School Librarians International, the ASPCA, and the National Science Teachers Association and Children’s Book Council. She is an alumna of fellowships awarded by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, the CUNY Resilience Fellowship Program, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and the Institute for Journalism & Natural Resources. Prior to her journalism career, Kathi spent 15 years practicing law, with an emphasis on environmental issues and litigation. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Law and is admitted to the bars of Ohio, New York, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Current term: 2020-23. Contact Kathi.

 

Secretary

Laura Paskus is a correspondent and producer for New Mexico PBS. She has a monthly program, "Our Land: New Mexico's Environmental Past, Present, and Future" and also covers issues like PFAS contamination, climate change and politics for New Mexico In Focus. She began her career in journalism in 2002 as an assistant editor for High Country News, and has worked as a reporter and producer for KUNM-FM, as the environment reporter for New Mexico Political Report and as managing editor for Tribal College Journal, a publication of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. She's also freelanced for local, regional and national papers and magazines about issues related to climate change, water challenges in the arid southwestern United States, energy development, mining and other natural resource issues. Her book, "At the Precipice: New Mexico's Changing Climate" came out in 2020 from the University of New Mexico Press. Current term: 2019-22. Contact Laura, 505-217-5136.

 

Judy Fahys is Mountain West Reporter for Inside Climate News and its new national environmental reporting network. Previously, she covered the environment for NPR Utah/KUER 90.1, in Salt Lake City, and The Salt Lake Tribune, focusing on everything from the fight over national monuments in Utah, to air pollution policy, the recreation economy, Colorado River water resources and the nation's radioactive legacy. A longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors, she was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Current term: 2018-2021. Contact Judy, 801-703-8846.

 

Maya Kapoor is a science writer, essayist and editor based in Northern California. Currently, she’s an associate editor for High Country News, where she writes about science, environmental policy and social justice, and edits science writing, essays and book reviews. Maya’s writing has won an AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award and been shortlisted for the National Association of Science Writers’ Science in Society Award, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and anthologized in "How We Speak to One Another" (Coffee House Press, 2017) and "The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide" (The University of Arizona Press, 2016). Her work has been supported by the Society of Environmental Journalists’ Fund for Environmental Journalism, the Vermont Law School Media Fellowship, the Aldo and Estella Leopold Residency and the Breadloaf Orion Environmental Writer’s Conference. Maya has a master of fine arts degree in creative nonfiction writing from the University of Arizona, a master of science degree in biology from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree with honors in biology from Williams College. Current term: 2020-23. Contact Maya.

 

Bobby Magill covers public lands, energy and water for Bloomberg Law, part of Bloomberg Industry Group, in the Washington, D.C. area. Bobby served as SEJ President from 2016-2019. At Bloomberg, Bobby covered the United Nations international climate negotiations in December 2018 at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, and in December 2019 at COP25 in Madrid. He has written extensively about federal public lands and energy policy with a focus on the Interior Department, the U.S. Forest Service, offshore wind development, negative carbon emissions and international climate policy. Bobby represented SEJ on the inaugural seven-member jury for the Fundación BBVA Biophilia Award for Environmental Communication in Madrid in October 2019. Previously, he was a senior science writer at Climate Central in New York and was an environment reporter for newspapers in the West, including the Fort Collins Coloradoan; the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colo.; and smaller newspapers in Colorado and New Mexico. His work has appeared in Climate Liability News, Popular Mechanics, Scientific American, The Guardian, Grist, Salon, USA Today and other publications. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he graduated from the College of Charleston in 2001. Find him on Twitter @bobbymagill or online at bobbymagill.com. Board member since 2015. Current term: 2018-2021. Contact Bobby, 202-524-0296.

 

Donovan Quintero, a two-time recipient of the Nina Mason Pulliam Environmental Journalism Award, and many other journalism awards, was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation. He has reported and photographed for the Navajo Times as a freelancer and editorial staff member since 2005. Quintero has traveled to every corner of the Navajo reservation, traveled throughout the country and the world, from California to Massachusetts to South America to Africa, focusing his attention on documenting and sharing the stories of Navajo people. He has photographed and written news stories ranging from the devastating effects of drought, the destructive yet life-giving forest fires, to everyday celebrations of Navajo life, and the impacts of COVID-19 on the reservation. Through both his writing and photography for the Navajo Times, Quintero seeks to brings issues of social justice impacting the Navajo people to light. (Watch "How One Paper Is Covering COVID-19 in the Most Under-Connected Part of the U.S.", a video about The Navajo Times by The New Yorker, Jan 14, 2021.) Current term: 2020-2023. Contact Donovan.

 

Sara Schonhardt is an international climate reporter with E&E News. Previously, she was the managing editor for Internews' Earth Journalism Network, where she worked with journalists around the world to develop and produce stories that look at the human impacts of climate and environmental change. A longtime international reporter, she worked for nearly eight years in Indonesia for outlets such as The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Voice of America and The Wall Street Journal, where she was a staff reporter until 2017. Her joint work on “No Good Choices,” an interactive project about domestic worker abuse in Hong Kong won the 2015 Society of Publishers in Asia award for Excellence in Reporting on Women’s Issues. Sara traveled to Guatemala in the fall of 2017 through a fellowship with the International Reporting Project to document how women were responding to issues related to the environment. Born and bred in Columbus, Ohio, Sara has a degree in journalism from Ohio University and a master's degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. You can find her at www.saraschonhardt.com and @saraschonhardt. Current term: 2020-23. Contact Sara.

 

Meera Subramanian is an award-winning independent journalist whose work has been published in national and international publications including the New York Times, TheNewYorker.com, Nature, Virginia Quarterly Review and Orion, where she serves as a contributing editor. Her book "A River Runs Again: India's Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka," published by PublicAffairs in 2015, was short-listed for the 2016 Orion Book Award. Through her work, she has explored the disappearance of India's vultures, questioned the "Good Anthropocene," sought out fragile shorelines, and investigated perceptions of climate change among conservative Americans. Her essays have been anthologized in "Best American Science and Nature Writing," as well as multiple editions of "The Best Women's Travel Writing." She was the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and the Humanities at Princeton University (2019-2020), a MIT Knight Science Journalism fellow (2016-17) and a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellow (2013-14). Based in Cape Cod, you can find her at www.meerasub.org and @meeratweets. Current term: 2018-2021. Contact Meera.

 

Representative for the SEJ Academic Membership
Sara Shipley Hiles is an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where she teaches writing and online journalism. Her areas of interest include environmental, science and health reporting; using multimedia and social media; and investigative reporting. Hiles started her journalism career at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans while still a student at Loyola University. Later she moved to the The Statesman-Journal in Salem, Oregon; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She has taught at Western Kentucky University and Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She has won awards and recognition for teaching, feature writing, digital journalism and investigative reporting. She received a master's in journalism from the Missouri School of Journalism and is helping build the school's science communication program. Current term: 2019-2022. Contact Sara.

 

Representative for the SEJ Associate Membership
Jennifer Bogo is the VP of content for the National Audubon Society, where she oversees the crack editorial team producing bird-savvy conservation and science stories for Audubon magazine and Audubon.org. She came full circle to Audubon, and to avians, after stints extolling the virtues of robots and space probes as the science editor at Popular Mechanics and executive editor of Popular Science. Stories she edited have won a National Magazine Award and been included in the "Best American Science Writing" and "Best American Science and Nature Writing" anthologies. She has made frequent media appearances as a science expert, and she has traveled to research stations from the Arctic to the Antarctic to report feature stories herself. Current term: 2018-2021. Contact Jennifer.

 

Ex Officio Board Member

Founding President
Jim Detjen served as Director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and Knight Chair at Michigan State University from January 1995 through May 2012. Previously Detjen spent 21 years as a professional newspaper reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal and other publications. His reporting has won more than 50 state, national and international awards including Polk, National Headliner, Stokes and Meeman awards. He is a three-time finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. Detjen is a contributor to or author of four books on environmental and science journalism topics. He has lectured widely and has taught journalism workshops in the British Isles, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, China, Japan, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Mexico and throughout the U.S. Detjen helped found the International Federation of Environmental Journalists in 1993 and served as IFEJ president from 1994 to 2000. He earned a bachelor's degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. Detjen was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to teach at Nanakai University in Tianjin, China, during the spring semester of 2002. Ex officio board member and founding president, 1990.  Contact Jim, 517-353-9479.

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SEJ Staff

Executive Director
Meaghan ParkerMeaghan Parker became the Executive Director of the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) in 2018, after serving six years on SEJ’s board of directors. Previously, she was the Senior Writer/Editor and Partnerships Director for the Environmental Change and Security Program and the Global Sustainability and Resilience Program of the Wilson Center, a nonpartisan policy forum in Washington, DC., where she worked for 15 years. She was the founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning New Security Beat, a daily blog covering environment, health and security. She was the supervising producer of the award-winning documentary trilogy, “Healthy People, Healthy Environment,” three short films filmed in Tanzania, Nepal and Ethiopia. She was the lead editor of “A New Climate for Peace,” an online platform and independent study commissioned by the G7 Foreign Ministers. Before joining the Center, she was Manager of Research and Internal Communications at the Fortune 500 energy company PPL Global, where she researched international investments and renewable energy policy. She is currently serving on the Advisory Council of Planet Forward, a project of the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs. In addition to SEJ, she is a member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, National Association of Science Writers, and JAWS (Journalism & Women Symposium). Contact Meaghan, 202-558-2033.

Founding Executive Director
Beth Parke became SEJ's first executive director in 1993. She provides entrepreneurial leadership to clarify, protect and advance SEJ's mission. Parke's responsibilities include implementation of board policies, budget and finance, development, strategic planning, university relations with regard to annual conferences, and collaboration with partners in the journalism community. From 1984-1992 Parke was senior producer and host for Consider the Alternatives, an award-winning radio series on public policy issues. Prior to that she was employed as a producer for National Public Radio affiliates WGBH-FM, Boston and WHYY-FM, Philadelphia. Parke earned a B.A. in Communications from Boston College, and an M.A. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. View a tribute to Beth. Contact Beth.

Deputy Director, Director of Awards
A. Christine Bruggers has served with distinction in multiple staff roles since 1993. Her leadership and creativity have produced a base of systems for SEJ programs and operations including the building of database systems for membership, listservs and accounts; marketing, planning and implemention of annual conferences, awards, FEJ and other programs; training and supervising administrative and program staff; design and production of SEJournal; and leadership with SEJ's board on membership policy and elections procedures. She is responsible for moving membership applications and member data from paper to electronic files in 2009. Bruggers also serves as Director of SEJ Awards and as such developed one of the earliest online entry-form procedures for journalism awards in 2010. She also supervises the annual board election and created online balloting in 2010, both saving money and increasing voter participation. Bruggers earned a B.A. in professional writing from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. She is also an accomplished photographer. Contact Chris, 502-641-1844

Annual Conference Director
Jay Letto, a founding member of SEJ, has been the group's annual conference director since 1993. He also works as a freelance writer and editor. From 1986 to 1992, Letto served as director of the environment program at the Scientists' Institute for Public Information in New York City, where he was also co-editor of SIPIscope. Letto has organized scores of programs for journalists on the full spectrum of environmental issues. As annual conference director for SEJ, he works with the board conference chair and dozens of member-volunteers to organize a balanced, diverse and news-making program dealing with the myriad aspects of news reporting on environmental issues. Letto earned his B.S. in biology and environmental studies from the University of Michigan. He also holds an M.A. in journalism, with a certificate in science and environmental reporting, from New York University. Contact Jay, 509-493-4428 (West Coast - Pacific Time).

Marketing and Programs Associate
Meagan Jeanette (MJ) assists with all of SEJ's programs and initiatives, marketing, SEJ member and customer support, donor gifts and pledges, paid press releases, ad orders, reimbursement requests, Listserv subscriptions, conference marketing and app management, exhibit tracking, membership data reports and development of basic procedures. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Jeanette is also a classically-trained chef with an Associate of Science degree in Culinary Arts from Sullivan University. Contact MJ, (202) 558-2055.

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SEJ Project Consultants

TipSheet and WatchDog TipSheet Editor; Member, SEJ FOI Taskforce
Joseph A. Davis is a freelance writer/editor in Washington, D.C. who has been writing about the environment since 1976. He writes SEJournal Online's TipSheet, Reporter's Toolbox and Issue Backgrounder, as well as compiling SEJ's weekday news headlines service EJToday. Davis also directs SEJ's Freedom of Information Project and writes the WatchDog column and WatchDog Alert. Davis was senior writer with the Environmental Health Center until 2002, where he was acting editor of EHC's Environment Writer as well as principal author of EHC's reporter's guide on the science of global climate change. Between 1982 and 1989, he covered energy, environment and natural resources for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C. Davis earned his B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has experience in database reporting and has taught Web publishing. Contact Joe, 301-656-2261.

SEJournal Online Editor
A. Adam Glenn is an award-winning journalist, media consultant and journalism educator with 30-plus years in newspaper, magazine and online newsrooms, including ABCNews.com. A long-time specialist in environmental news, he is editor of the SEJournal Online and is on the SEJ editorial advisory board. He is also editor of the climate adaptation news project AdaptNY and of the Reporter's Guide to Climate Adaptation. An online pioneer since the 1990s, he has spent the last decade focused on community, engagement and social media. Adam's consulting clients have included news publishers, journalism think tanks, and non-profit and charitable organizations. He is a distinguished lecturer at Hunter College at the City University of New York, and previously taught at CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism, New York University and Columbia University. Adam has won numerous fellowships and grants, most recently as a public policy scholar at the Washington, D.C.-based Wilson Center think tank. He holds a Master of Arts degree in international policy from the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Boston University. He lives with his daughter in the Lower Hudson Valley outside New York City. Contact Adam, 914-409-8795.

Web Content Manager
Cindy MacDonald, SEJ's Web content manager, develops and maintains fresh, accurate and timely content for www.sej.org on a daily basis. She has applied her technical expertise and extensive experience as a detail-oriented writer and administrator to this creative and critically important service to the SEJ community since December 2000. Based near Lindsay, Ontario, Canada, MacDonald is an avid proponent of accurate information in general and on environmental issues in particular. She is a French/Spanish undergraduate of the University of Windsor, Canada. Contact Cindy.

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SEJ Advisory Boards, Committees and Task Forces

 

Advisory Board
Marla Cone
Steve Curwood
Gregg Easterbrook
Charles Eisendrath
Judy Muller
Rich Oppel
Gene Roberts
Rick Rodriguez
Sandy Rowe
Teya Ryan
Robert Semple
Judy Woodruff

Walter Cronkite (1916-2009)
Peter Desbarats (1933-2014)
Katherine Fanning (1927-2000)
Thomas Winship (1920-2002)

 

Audit Committee
Jenny Bogo (Chair)
Gloria Gonzalez
Amelia Jaycen

 

Awards Committee

 

Editorial Advisory Board

The Editorial Advisory Board's role is to consult regularly with the SEJournal editor and others on editorial content for online/e-newsletters and themed SEJournal print publications. The Editorial Advisory Board may also be called upon to advise SEJ's executive director on publications strategy, as needed.

The SEJ Editorial Advisory Board is made up of the following voting members: The SEJournal's volunteer section editors, an SEJ Board liaison, the SEJournal editor (serving ex officio) and a chairperson (any SEJ member in good standing, to be nominated and selected by the Advisory Board members). Additional SEJ editorial staff are invited to serve as nonvoting members of the Editorial Advisory Board.

Robert McClure (Chair)
Adam Glenn (SEJournal Editor)
Michael Kodas (Board of Directors Liaison)
Roger Archibald
Emilia Askari
Joseph A. Davis
Tom Henry
Cheryl Hogue
Parimal Rohit
Karen Schaefer
Carolyn Whetzel
Christine Woodside
Bob Wyss

 

Elections Committee
Chris Bruggers (Elections Supervisor)
Chuck Quirmbach
Tim Wheeler

 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee

 

Finance Committee
Kathiann Kowalski (Treasurer)
Jenny Bogo
Emily Gertz
Bobby Magill

 

Freedom of Information Task Force

 

Fundraising Committee
Laura Paskus (Chair)
Judy Fahys
Luke Runyon
Sara Shipley Hiles
Meera Subramanian

 

Governance Committee

 

Membership Committee
Michael Kodas (Chair)
Jenny Bogo (Vice-Chair)
Sara Shipley Hiles
Donovan Quintero
Sara Schonhardt

 

Programs Committee
Emily Gertz (Chair)
Judy Fahys
Maya Kapoor
Sara Schonhardt

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