SEJ's 27th Annual Conference Coverage



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SEJ's 27th annual conference, October 4-8, 2017, took place at the Wyndham Grand Hotel Downtown in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh/Swanson School of Engineering. Below, you'll find session-by-session multimedia coverage provided by SEJ, volunteers and conference attendees.

Additional coverage:

Thanks to all our volunteer writers, recorders and photographers — this would not happen without you!

It's critically important to SEJ to gather evidence on the impact of our work. Please help us to keep SEJ strong and share links, photos, copies of reporting generated or informed by this conference. Send your story links to Cindy MacDonald, SEJ's Web content manager. It's never too late. Please send yours!

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Wednesday, October 4
Thursday, October 5
Friday, October 6
Saturday, October 7
Sunday, October 8
Miscellaneous conference coverage and local news


Wednesday, October 4


All-Day Farm Bill Workshop




Opening Reception: Tipping the Scales of Environmental Justice

Facebook Live video of the Environmental Justice Plenary on opening night at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture.



Thursday, October 5


Tour 1, The Allegheny National Forest: Where Timber, Oil, Gas and Wild Rivers Meet




Tour 2, Lake Erie: Water, Walking, Wind and Wine

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Hogue. Click to enlarge.








Tour 3, Laurel Highlands: One Beautiful Mountain Landscape, Two Very Different Environmental Stories



Tour 5, From Steeltown to Green City



Tour 6, To the Bat Cave!

Left: Greg Turner, a wildlife biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, talks to us in Laurel Caverns about white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has killed many tens of thousands of bats, threatening several species with extinction. Not long ago, these caverns served as hibernacula for bats to winter over. Very few are left. (Look on the wall above his head and you’ll see some white spots. These may be spots of fungi, not necessarily the kind that are killing the bats, but illustrative that caves are crawling with microbiological life.) Center: Bella Isaacs-Thomas of the University of Michigan gets ready to crawl her way through a tight spot in the Caverns. Photos courtesy of Tom Yulsman (pictured, right), Center for Environmental Journalism, UC Boulder. Click photos to enlarge. See more bat-cave tour photos on the SEJ Members Facebook group.



Tour 7, One City, Three Rivers: Pittsburgh’s Water Challenge

Photo courtesy of James Bruggers. Click to enlarge.








Tour 8, Coal, Steel and Smog

Photos courtesy of Meg Turville-Heitz. Click photos to enlarge. See more tour photos on the SEJ Members Facebook group.



Tour 9, Fission and Our Energy Future: The View from Inside an Operating Nuclear Plant

Photos courtesy of Tom Henry, Ripple Effect/The (Toledo) Blade. Click photos to enlarge. See more nuke tour photos on the SEJ Members Facebook group.



Friday, October 6


Breakfast Panel Session, How to Go from Prof(essional) to Prof(essor)



Opening Plenary, Environmental Journalism in the Trump Era



Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 2, Working Around PIOs Who Don’t Live Up to Their Titles



Concurrent Sessions 1, THE CRAFT 3, "We're So Screwed": The Ethics and Efficacy of Doomsday Reporting



Concurrent Sessions 1, WATER, Growing Awareness of America's Lead Problem: Next Steps, New Stories



Concurrent Sessions 1, CLIMATE, Rethinking Climate Change Denial



Concurrent Sessions 1, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, Tribal Nations Take a Stand



Concurrent Sessions 1, WILDLIFE, Criminal Elements: Organized Crime and Natural Resources



Concurrent Sessions 1, ENERGY, The Next Fracking Fight: Pipelines



Celebrating Environmental Journalism Luncheon



Concurrent Sessions 2, THE CRAFT 2, Google Tools Training with SPJ

  • If you reported stories after the conference using the knowledge and tools you gleaned from this session, please send those story links to SEJ web content manager Cindy MacDonald for posting here. Thank you!
  • Event description.



Concurrent Sessions 2, THE CRAFT 3, Beyond the Bubble: How to Communicate Environmental Issues Outside of the Echo Chamber



Concurrent Sessions 2, WATER, Crystal Clear? Water Policy in the Trump Administration



Concurrent Sessions 2, CLIMATE, Climate Action in the Hands of the Courts



Concurrent Sessions 2, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, Environmental Justice in the Age of Trump



Concurrent Sessions 2, WILDLIFE, Can DNA Editing Save Species?



Concurrent Sessions 2, ENERGY, Can We Afford Nuclear Power?



Saturday, October 7


Concurrent Sessions 3 and 4, THE CRAFT 1, Data Journalism: How to Find It, Mine It, Animate It



Concurrent Sessions 3 and 4, THE CRAFT 2, Safety, Digital Security and Legal Rights for Journalists



Concurrent Sessions 3, THE CRAFT 3, New Media Business Models (in a Post-Truth Era)



Concurrent Sessions 3, WATER, Working the Disaster Beat



Concurrent Sessions 3, CLIMATE, Climate Change, Conflicts and Displaced People



Concurrent Sessions 3, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, Building Sources and Trust in the Environmental Justice World



Concurrent Sessions 3, WILDLIFE, Species on the Move: Climate Change and Shifting Ecosystems



Concurrent Sessions 3, ENERGY, The Fate of Renewable Energy Under Trump



Concurrent Sessions 4, THE CRAFT 3, Investigative Reporting: How to Dig Deeper



Concurrent Sessions 4, WATER, Making the Great Lakes Great Again



Concurrent Sessions 4, CLIMATE, Will the Next Global Climate Leader Please Step Up?



Concurrent Sessions 4, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, Expanding the Environmental Justice Tent



Concurrent Sessions 4, WILDLIFE, Beyond Megafauna: Small Species, Big Loss



Concurrent Sessions 4, ENERGY, Resources vs. Recreation in the Fight for Public Lands



Lunch Plenary, The Sixth Extinction... Live and Personal!

© Photo and video by the Jane Goodall Institute.




Mini-Tour 3, Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale, PA

Photos courtesy of Kirsi Jansa, documentary filmmaker: Sustainability Pioneers, Gas Rush Stories. Click photos to enlarge. See more tour photos on the SEJ Members Facebook group.



Mini-Tour 5, Bobs' Beer Tour — From the Classroom to the Taproom

Bob Parker gives a semester of brewing in 45 minutes. Photos courtesy of Meg Turville-Heitz. Click photos to enlarge. See more tour photos on the SEJ Members Facebook group.



Mini-Tour 7, Bike to "Heaven" — Currently on Pittsburgh's North Side

Photos courtesy of Rebecca Lessner. Click photos to enlarge. See more bike mini-tour photos here on Facebook.



Sunday, October 7


Breakfast at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens



Post-Conference Tour: Biking (and a Little Surfin’) on the Great Allegheny Passage

Photos courtesy of Rebecca Lessner. Click to enlarge.


Miscellaneous conference coverage and local news