SEJ Webinar: Can We Talk? Getting the Story From Biden’s Interior Department

Event Date: 
July 28, 2021
Webinar graphic


Screenshot of July 28 panelists

Video recording and chat log

SEJ Members Only | Join SEJ Here (eligibility requirements must be met)

July 28, 2021 || 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET

The Biden administration pledged to have a more open and respectful relationship with the press than its predecessor. Join us for a conversation with top aides to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland as we explore what access journalists have now to experts and information at Interior and its many bureaus and offices, including the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Fish & Wildlife Service and National Park Service. After brief intros, we’ll jump right into Q&A.


  • Sadie Babits, Professor of Practice and Sustainability Director, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Arizona State University, and President, SEJ
  • Tim Wheeler, Associate Editor and Senior Writer, Bay Journal, and Chair, FOI Task Force, SEJ


  • Melissa Schwartz, Communications Director, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

    Image of Melissa SchwartzMelissa Schwartz is a strategic communicator and adjunct professor with two decades of experience in government, the private sector and at nonprofit organizations. She most recently served as Senior Advisor to Dr. Jill Biden. As Chief Operating Officer at The Bromwich Group for nine years, projects included coordinating communications strategy to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, raise awareness of the rape kit backlog and gender-based violence, defend national monuments and the ocean, and facilitate a just transition for coal communities. Melissa is a former senior spokesperson for the U.S. Departments of Justice and Interior, and Senator Barbara Mikulski.

  • Tanya Trujillo, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, U.S. Department of the Interior

    Image of Tanya TrujilloTanya Trujillo is a water lawyer with more than 20 years of experience working on complex natural resources management issues and interstate and transboundary water agreements. She most recently worked as a project director with the Colorado River Sustainability Campaign. Before then, she served as the Executive Director of the Colorado River Board of California. She has served as Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at Interior. A native New Mexican, Tanya attended Stanford University and the University of Iowa College of Law.


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