Inside Story

SEJournal Online Inside Story banner

Inside Story is a regular question-and-answer feature of SEJournal Online in which we hear from award-winning journalists about the behind-the-scenes practices, ideas and breakthroughs that led to their best work, and their advice to other journalists about how to excel. For questions and comments, or to suggest future Inside Story features, email SEJournal Online Inside Story Q&A co-editors Emilia Askari or Parimal Rohit at sejournaleditor@sej.org.

Be sure to check out past winners of the Society of Environmental Journalists’ Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment. Here's the list of winners from 2020 (which includes videos spotlighting their work), as well as from 2019.

November 25, 2020

  • When the New York Times Magazine published “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change” as its full issue in August 2018, the reaction to Nathaniel Rich’s piece was immediate and polemic. Today, as some analysts speak of Joe Biden’s efforts to position himself as “the climate President,” SEJournal asks Rich to explain his contribution to the public conversation on policy, action and climate.

October 21, 2020

  • A battery of polluting industry spewing toxic pollution and a small town of residents south of Baton Rouge unbowed by their circumstance make for the ingredients of a powerful team investigative project, newly named to the top prize in the Society of Environmental Journalists’ 2020 reporting awards. Inside Story offers a look behind “Polluter’s Paradise” in a Q&A with reporter Tristan Baurick.

September 9, 2020

  • It took teams of journalists to produce an award-winning series of reports digging into environment and climate health effects of massive oil and natural gas production in the Southwestern United States. Our latest Inside Story talks with Jamie Smith Hopkins of the Center for Public Integrity about the benefits of reporting a big story jointly and the project’s sometimes surprising findings.

July 1, 2020

  • When two towns — one an affluent suburb and the other a poor rural community — faced similar air pollution crises, lopsided government action made clear there was an underlying race and class divide. Reporter Sharon Lerner shares the story behind her award-winning reporting that tells the “Tale of Two Toxic Cities,” in our latest Inside Story Q&A.

June 3, 2020

  • To cover the wide range of challenges affecting his Mountain State, a small market beat reporter won plaudits first by becoming a close student of the issues and then boiling them down to the basics for his audience. Inside Story’s Q&A explores the resulting award-winning journalism on topics like water law and public lands, groundwater pollution and protected species.

April 22, 2020

  • How do you gain perspective on a widespread public health disaster? Award-winning reporter Apoorva Mandavilli shares valuable lessons on using a small lens to cover a big story — no, not COVID-19, but the deadly 1984 gas leak in Bhopal, India. And as she explains in this Inside Story Q&A, this decades-old story never really went away in the first place.

April 8, 2020

  • Parimal RohitSEJ’s 2020 reporting awards’ deadline is coming up April 24 and the SEJournal is bringing back its Inside Story Q&A feature to share insights from previous award winners. Meet the column’s two new co-editors, including former SEJ president, Emilia Askari (pictured left), and awards committee member Parimal Rohit (pictured right). And find out which award winner, with highly relevant disaster coverage, will relaunch the column in the coming weeks.

October 9, 2019

  • A deeply documented investigation revealed serious problems in Illinois’ aging nuclear power plants, and won reporters Brett Chase and Madison Hopkins an outstanding small market investigative reporting award from the Society of Environmental Journalists last year. Chase spoke with SEJournal Online’s “Inside Story” about the “Power Struggle” project, about lessons learned and advice for other reporters. Read the Q&A.

August 7, 2019

  • The latest Inside Story column takes a look at how one reporter turned a series of complex policy stories on renewable energy and pollution into an accessible, localized narrative — and in the process won a Society of Environmental Journalists’ explanatory reporting award. A Q&A about the project with Baltimore Sun’s Scott Dance.

June 12, 2019

  • A lengthy investigation yielded one small-market environmental reporting team an award-winning project examining the adequacy of a toxic solvent cleanup in a polluted community. Our latest “Inside Story” talks with a team member behind the project to learn about the challenges, the lessons learned and advice for others tracking similar problems.

Pages