From Coffee-Table Books To New Posts And Science Awards

May 15, 2006



Seth Borenstein joins the Associated Press as a national science writer as of March 20. He will work at the Washington, DC, bureau and report to the national science and health desk in New York. For the last seven years and eight months he was a national reporter for Knight Ridder Newspaper's Washington bureau, covering environment, science, disasters, aviation and government contracting. Seth will be responsible for the "dry" sciences while Malcolm Ritter in New York continues to cover the "wet" sciences – at least that's how Malcolm explains the division of the science beat. Seth, who is usually all wet, will try to develop a dry sense of humor. As part of his beat, Seth will continue to cover global warming and hurricanes and will return to cover NASA as an agency.

David Biello has moved from freelancing to a full-time job as an associate editor at Scientific American.

LSU Press has published "America's Wetland: Louisiana's Vanishing Coast," a coffee-table book featuring the photos of SEJ members Bevil Knapp and writer Mike Dunne. Knapp is a freelance photographer in the New Orleans area and Dunne is a reporter for The Advocate in Baton Rouge. The book was prepared before Hurricane Katrina hit southeastern Louisiana. Several areas featured in the book were later destroyed or flooded by Katrina and Hurricane Rita. A chapter on New Orleans was prophetically entitled "America's Atlantis," and explained the loss of wetlands could help flood New Orleans during a Category 3 hurricane. It said the city could become "the site of the nation's worst natural disaster." The book was printed right before Katrina hit.

Doug Riggs of the Providence Journal had this to say about the book: "'America's Wetland: Louisiana's Vanishing Coast,' by Bevil Knapp (photos) and Mike Dunne (text), gets my vote as the year's most poignant, and prophetic, title. Published last month but written long before hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it contains warning after warning about what might happen – and then did." (See SEJournal's review of the book on 27.)

Dan Vergano of USA Today won the American Geophysical Union's 2006 David Perlman Award for Excellence in Science Journalism–News for his article, "The debate's over: Globe is warming," USA Today's cover story on 13 June 2005.

Michelle Nijhuis of High Country News will receive the 2006 AGU Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism-Features for a three-part series with the overall title, "Hot Times: Global Warming in the West," front-paged in High Country News on Jan. 24, April 18 and Oct. 17, 2005.

And The New Orleans Times-Picayune will receive a special award from AGU for consistently excellent coverage of scientific research demonstrating the vulnerability of New Orleans to hurricanes and other environmental impacts prior to Hurricane Katrina. The special award to The Times-Picayune originated with a recommendation from AGU's Public Information Committee, which praised the newspaper's diligent efforts over a period of years to inform its readership about wetland preservation, land subsidence, levee reinforcement, storm surge and hurricane prediction.

In June 2002, the paper introduced a five-part series, "Washing Away," written by John McQuaid and Mark Schleifstein, with this banner warning: "It's only a matter of time before southern Louisiana takes a direct hit from a major hurricane. Billions have been spent to protect us, but we grow more vulnerable every day."

Adam Glenn will serve as consulting managing editor for Columbia School of Journalism's News 21 Incubator project, part of a new summer journalism fellowship program supported by the multi-million-dollar Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.

Tamsyn Jones, an environmental journalism graduate student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, won a Rotary Foundation scholarship to study environmental journalism at the University of Tasmania. She was inspired, she wrote, by her studies abroad in Australia in 2004 with Dave Poulson, Michigan State University, a program that focused on Australia's media, culture and environment. She had visited the University of Tasmania and was impressed by its program in environmental research for journalists and radio reporting and had wanted to continue her studies there. If all goes well, she should be going to Tasmania by July or February 2007 for a year of study.

Barney McCoy, aka Roger McCoy, is a new associate professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. McCoy joined the UNL faculty in January after six years with WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio. A frequent contributor to The Columbus Dispatch, McCoy also worked at WKBD-TV, Detroit, Mich., KCTV, Kansas City, Mo., WILX-TV, Lansing, Mich. and WIBW-TV, Topeka, Kans. Last fall, McCoy placed second in SEJ's Awards for Reporting on the Environment in the "Outstanding Online Reporting" category. McCoy and three others were presented with the SEJ award for a report they produced for and WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio, called "Radon in Schools: A Lesson to Learn."

Judith Robinson's "The Miracle Worker," a biography of faith healer Aimee Semple McPherson, will be published in April as part of Altitude Publishing's Amazing Stories series. Blind, deaf, crippled and lame all testified of being healed in McPherson's crusades. At the peak of her career in the 1920's she drew crowds bigger than the U.S. president. One quarter of the population of Los Angeles was attending services in her church, Angeles Temple.

In the Jan. 25, 2006, issue of Arizona Capitol Times, Deb Krol wrote "Tribes and Trash," a 2,000-word piece on the environmental, social and financial problems tribes in Arizona have with non-reservation people dumping everything from furniture to dogs on tribal lands.

Dan Shapley won the first place award for "Beat Reporting" in the 2005 New York State Associated Press Association's annual writing contest. The competition included newspapers with circulations between 25,000 and 50,000.

James Eli Shiffer moved from The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. to the Star Tribune in Minneapolis in December 2005 and is now the metro life team leader.

Correction: Bill Brichard's new book is called "Nature's Keepers."

Jackleen de La Harpe tracks the moves and triumphs of the environmental media from her home in Portland, Ore. Send her your announcement at

** From SEJ's quarterly newsletter SEJournal Spring, 2006 issue




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