SEJ: Working Today, For Tomorrow

July 21, 2020

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SEJ President’s Report: SEJ — Working Today, For Tomorrow

Dear SEJ members,

Greetings to everyone near and far. May this find you secure in your being and sustained in your work, as the challenges of covering the environment at this perilous moment continue. I want to share some of the good news that has emerged over the last month as the immediate onslaught of the COVID-19 crisis settles into what we're all learning will be a very long haul.

But first, I want to invite you to join our upcoming Board of Directors meeting on Saturday, July 25, 2020, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. EDT. Here’s what’s on the agenda (you'll need your MemberClicks log-in info).

Photo: Ashley Garmon

The work underway

In case you haven’t heard yet, registration for the SEJ annual conference is open! Conference co-chairs, freelance radio news editor Christy George and retired daily environment reporter Rocky Barker, have been working tirelessly with staff to create a tandem event: a series of virtual events in September along with an in-person conference in Boise, Idaho, June 2-6, 2021. The first 300 to register for the virtual conference in September will receive a discounted rate. Don't wait! Find all the info you need about panels on tribal legal victories and challenges, election impacts, post-COVID-19 green recovery plans and so much more here.

SEJ is distributing more direct support for journalism and journalists than ever before through our Fund for Environmental Journalism. To date, we've distributed $76,760 and there’s still more funding available. Apply now for a rapid response grant to support your stories on any of six topics: climate, conservation or environmental health in North America; water in the United States; oceans and coasts globally; and the Mississippi River Basin.

Thanks to all of you tuning in from around the globe to SEJ's webinars to hear some of the top journalists in the field share their knowledge. More are on the way, but you can view past sessions such as Covering Climate, COVID-19 and the Economy: Is a Green Recovery Possible? Covering Climate, COVID-19 and Environmental Justice: A Journalists' Roundtable, Complex Emergencies and Climate Change in the Era of COVID-19 and more here.

Thank you to all who have contributed to our SEJ Members in Need fund, which is ensuring that members hit especially hard by the disruptions of this year can request membership renewal fee waivers and stay connected to the SEJ community. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far to the fund. If you can help, please donate here.

To make all this happen, Executive Director Meaghan Parker has been leading the staff and a team of amazing volunteers who make all the magic happen. We express our deepest gratitude for all that they’re making happen even as everyone manages lives that have been turned upside down.

The work ahead

In June, as protests erupted around the country and world in response to the killing of George Floyd, SEJ issued a statement condemning the violence against people who were peacefully protesting police killings of Black people as well as the violence against journalists reporting on them. As the country faces a moment of reckoning around systemic racism, SEJ continues to strategize ways we can move beyond statements and make fundamental changes to our organization and the media landscape at large. Prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is an integral part of informing the public about environmental crises in our communities, which brings me to...   

August will be the month for members to give the Board feedback on a new Strategic Plan that has been in the works since December, honing our vision for what can sustain and strengthen SEJ in the years to come. Expect an announcement the first week of August with lots more information, along with a draft of the plan. You'll have a chance to provide feedback through a survey, as well as a couple of Listening Sessions: one on Wednesday, Aug. 12 (7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT) and another on Wednesday, Aug. 26 (Noon-1:00 p.m. EDT). We greatly look forward to hearing your thoughts as the Board moves toward a final draft.

August will also be the month we put out a call for Board of Director candidates. If you have ever considered serving a leadership role in North America's largest organization of environmental journalists, now is the moment. So much good work is happening, and yet there is still so much more to do. Don't hesitate to reach out to me or any of the board to learn more. You can be a part of it.

 

All my best,

 

Meera Subramanian

SEJ Board President

 

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