SEJ Member Spotlight: Elizabeth McGowan

Elizabeth H. McGowan immersed herself in the world of newspaper journalism at dailies in Vermont and Wisconsin after graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Upon completing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 1991 from Georgia to Maine, she wrote one of her first environmental pieces for a New England-based journal called Appalachia. McGowan has covered energy and environmental issues as a Washington, D.C., beat and features reporter for InsideClimate News and Crain Communications’ Waste and Recycling News. She has also covered conservation issues in South America and the United States.

McGowan’s award-winning writing about energy and environmental issues has appeared in such publications as: Nature Conservancy Magazine; E/The Environmental Magazine; Washingtonian magazine; Intelligent Utility magazine; Outdoor America (magazine of the Izaak Walton League); Mizzou, the alumni magazine for the University of Missouri; Lore, the magazine of the Milwaukee Public Museum; Capital Community News (of Washington, D.C.); Tech Surveillance, a news service of the Cooperative Research Network; and the Gulf of Maine Times.

She is currently taking a break from daily news coverage to focus on a book about a cross-country bicycle ride and cancer survival.

McGowan and her InsideClimate News colleagues Lisa Song and David Hasemyer won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for "their rigorous reports on flawed regulation of the nation’s oil pipelines, focusing on potential ecological dangers posed by diluted bitumen (or "dilbit"), a controversial form of oil." They were also named as a finalist in the Environmental Reporting category of the Scripps Howard Awards competition for their dilbit entry. Their investigative piece uncovered what really happened when millions of gallons of tar sands oil from Canada poured into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River after a pipe burst. That same team of reporters earned an honorable mention in the 2012 John B. Oakes Award contest presented by the Columbia University School of Journalism and won the 2012 James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism presented by Hunter College.

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  • Read “The Dilbit Disaster” and McGowan’s other work here or order the e-book from

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