SEJ's 24th Annual Conference Coverage



conference coverage




Agenda Coverage Lodging/ Travel Exhibits/Receptions Environmental News About New Orleans


SEJ's 24th annual conference took place September 3-7, 2014, at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans. Below, you'll find session-by-session multimedia coverage provided by SEJ, volunteers and conference attendees, posted as it arrives.


Conference attendees line up to ask questions of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.               © Photo by Karen Schaefer.

For other coverage, see also:

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Our sincere gratitude goes out to to all our volunteer writers, recorders and photographers — this would not happen without you!

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Page Menu

Wednesday, September 3
Thursday, September 4
Friday, September 5
Saturday, September 6
Sunday, September 7
Miscellaneous conference coverage and local news



Wednesday, September 3


All-Day Workshop 1, Disasters and Extreme Weather: Gathering the News and Keeping Safe



© Lana Straub

All-Day Workshop 1, Disasters and Extreme Weather: Gathering the News and Keeping Safe, Session 1A, Disasters: The Science — Contaminants in the Environment



All-Day Workshop 1, Disasters and Extreme Weather: Gathering the News and Keeping Safe, Session 1B, Disasters: The Craft — Getting the Story



All-Day Workshop 1, Disasters and Extreme Weather: Gathering the News and Keeping Safe, Session 1C, Aftershocks: Trauma, Climate Change and Environmental Journalism




All-Day Workshop 1, Disasters and Extreme Weather: Gathering the News and Keeping Safe, Session 1D, The Essential Toolkit for Reporting During a Disaster



All-Day Workshop 2, From Nairobi to New Orleans: Reporting on Resilience, Climate Change and Population Dynamics



All-Day Workshop 2, From Nairobi to New Orleans: Reporting on Resilience, Climate Change and Population Dynamics, Session 2A, Risky Cities and Resilient Communities



Opening Reception



Thursday, September 4


Tour 1, After BP: Are We Really Prepared Offshore?


  • "After BP Disaster, Is Gulf Drilling Safer?" The Allegheny Front, September 26, 2014, by Reid Frazier.
  • "OFFSHORE DRILLING: Former watchdog — 'Public Enemy No. 1' — returns to the Gulf ," Greenwire, September 9, 2014, by Robin Bravender (subscription).
    "NEW ORLEANS — Michael Bromwich .... was on the team of federal prosecutors that investigated alleged criminal misconduct in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra scandal in the 1980s; he spent five years as the Justice Department's internal watchdog; then he became President Obama's top drilling regulator, tasked in 2010 with overhauling offshore drilling rules and oversight after the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon spill. That job made him so unpopular along the Gulf Coast, he joked, that he only recently has been welcomed back. 'I'm delighted to be back in the New Orleans area,' he told a bus full of environmental reporters last week as he accompanied them on a tour to look at how the drilling industry has changed since the 2010 spill." The lengthy story highlights tour speaker Bromwich's past experiences and comments during the tour; it also references Interior Secretary Jewell's conference talk on Friday.
  • Post-tour tipsheet, by David Hammer.
  • Tour description.


Tour 2, Rebuilding Barrier Islands and Restoring Marshes



Tour 3, If the Gators Don't Get You... the Sinkhole Will



Tour 4, Chemical Corridor: Industry, Community and Environmental Health Impacts



Tour 5, Oyster Reefs and Fisheries in the Aftermath of BP and Katrina



Tour 6, Fracking, and All That Oil and Gas



Tour 7, Louisiana's Great Lakes, Cypress Swamps and Woodpeckers


Some of the Louisiana Great Lakes Tour Participants. Alligator harvested during Louisiana's alligator hunting season.

                 © Photos courtesy Christopher Johnston, freelance journalist,


Tour 8, Risky Business: How New Orleans' Rebuilt Levee System Is So Much Better, But Not Good Enough



Tour 9, The Long Road Home: Community Resilience, Adaptations, and Legacies From America’s Biggest Rebuild



Friday, September 5


Opening Plenary, Covering Disasters: Getting the Story and Staying Alive



Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 1, FOIA Clinic: Ask the Gumshoes



Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 2, Who's Covering the Environment Today? From Al Jazeera's Rise to Newspapers' Demise



Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 3, Continuing Education for Journalists: All You Ever Wanted To Know About Fellowships, Mentoring, MOOCs and Computer-Based Journalism Training But Were Afraid To Ask



Concurrent Sessions 1, OCEANS AND COASTS, Extreme Weather and Hurricane Science: Improving Forecasts


  • Audio file (00:55:10/18.9MB).
  • Video on | The Times-Picayune; September 5, 2014, story "Hurricane experts discuss how to improve forecasting," by Diya Chacko.
  • Session description.


Concurrent Sessions 1, THE LAND, Endangered Species: If We Can’t Save Charismatic Big Cats, What Can We Save?



© Karen Schaefer

Concurrent Sessions 1, POLLUTION, Dead Zones, Hypoxia and Nutrient Loading: Is Pollution Trading the Answer?




Concurrent Sessions 1, ENERGY, Oil Truckin’ and Pipin’: What’s Happening in Your Backyard?



© Lana Straub

Lunch Breakout Session 3, Dust-Up Over Ditches and Other Water Issues







Concurrent Sessions 2, THE CRAFT 2, Better Reporting Through SmartPhones



Concurrent Sessions 2, THE CRAFT 3, Collaboration: Marrying Environmental Research with Environmental Journalism



Concurrent Sessions 2, OCEANS AND COASTS, The BP Spill's Untold Ecological Toll



Concurrent Sessions 2, THE LAND, Levee Safety and Flood Risk: New Rules for New Floods


  • Audio file (00:54:45/18.8MB).
  • Video on | The Times-Picayune; September 5, 2014, story, "Army Corps officials, scientists talk levee safety and flood risks," by Diya Chacko.
  • Session description.


Concurrent Sessions 2, ENERGY, Nuclear Power in Fukushima's Wake



Concurrent Sessions 2, THE GLOBE, Skating on Thin Ice: Climate Change at the Poles



Keynote Address, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell



Beat Dinner 1, Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em: Nutria, Purslane, Formosan Termites



Saturday, September 6


Concurrent Sessions 3, THE CRAFT 1, When the Big Story Breaks on Your Watch — Prying Information from the Government



Concurrent Sessions 3, THE CRAFT 2, Crowdsourcing and Sensors: Citizen Science Tools for Journalism



Concurrent Sessions 3, THE CRAFT 3, Making Sustainability Stick: Communicating Complex Topics Without Losing Your Audience



Concurrent Sessions 3, OCEANS AND COASTS, BP Spill — The Restoration: How Are Billions of Dollars Being Spent?



Concurrent Sessions 3, THE LAND, Beyond the Water Wars



Concurrent Sessions 3, POLLUTION, Cleaning Up the Air and Carbon Too


  • Audio file (1:21:30/27.9MB).
  • "EPA May Change Ground-Level Smog Standards," Wisconsin Public Radio, October 7, 2014, by Chuck Quirmbach.
  • "Is There A Right Price For Carbon?" Ecosystem Marketplace, September 15, 2014, by Gloria Gonzalez.
  • "Association of air regulators delays GHG tools," Argus Media, September 8, 2014, by Stephanie Tsao (subscription).
    "Washington, 8 September (Argus) — The National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) is delaying until later this year the release of two tools to help states comply with proposed federal greenhouse gas regulations for existing power plants. The association, whose membership is comprised of state and local air pollution control agencies, had planned to issue the tools before public comments on the draft rule are due by 16 October. But it now plans to release the tools "within the next few months," association executive director Bill Becker said. ... Becker spoke on a panel at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference this weekend in New Orleans."
  • Session description.


Concurrent Sessions 3, ENERGY, Turning Trees into Wood Pellets: Biomass Energy and Southern Forest Health



Concurrent Sessions 3, THE GLOBE, Children's Environmental Health: Latest Trends



Concurrent Sessions 4, THE CRAFT 2, Seed-by-Seed: Funding the Freelance Life



Concurrent Sessions 4, THE CRAFT 3, Environment Journalism Revolution in the Classroom



Concurrent Sessions 4, THE LAND, Everglades Restoration Update: Billions Spent, But Will It Do Any Good?



Concurrent Sessions 4, POLLUTION, Waste in the 21st Century



Concurrent Sessions 4, ENERGY, ObamaAir: Greenhouse Gases, Clean Coal, Pollution Trading and Carbon Caps



Concurrent Sessions 4, THE GLOBE, Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation and Geoengineering: What's Being Done, Can Be Done, Won't Be Done?



Lunch and Plenary Session, Real Risk and Resilience in a Climate-Changed World



Sunday, September 7


Mississippi River and Its Environs Authors



So You Want to Write a Book?



Miscellaneous conference coverage:

Report: "Protecting the Oceans: Can Damage to Marine Life Be Halted?" CQ Researcher, October 17, 2014, by Jennifer Weeks. Available by subscription only; order the report here.

"Streets Named After Muses," The Gasconader, September 11, 2014, by Tina Casagrand.

"Society of Environmental Journalists explores Louisiana's issues: What others are saying," | The Times-Picayune, September 11, 2014, by Mark Schleifstein.

"Pensacola can learn from New Orleans," Pensacola News Journal, September 8, 2014, by Kimberly Blair.

"Risk and Resilience: Society of Environmental Journalists hosts annual conference this week in New Orleans," Restore the Mississippi River Delta Campaign blog, September 4, 2014, by Elizabeth Skree.

OpEd: "Four years after Deepwater Horizon explosion, offshore drilling is safer: Charlie Williams," | The Times-Picayune, September 3, 2014.