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Annual Public Lecture Series

Environmental Reporting Fellowships



Metcalf's Fellowship program sponsored a gifted and passionate young writer who could focus almost exclusively on important environmental and science coverage. That's a luxury most small news operations, including our own, could never otherwise afford. We reaped the rewards - and so did our readers, who got an education from his concentrated reporting on environmental justice, on the politics of climate change, and on much more.  Emily Parsons, Managing Editor, The American Prospect
The Metcalf fellowship injected journalists into newsrooms at a time when publications had been struggling and trained us in scientific practices so that we could serve as a bridge between the public and researchers. The fellowship year held challenges -- but most were gratifying and the experience will be a memorable and instructive one as we chart the rest of our careers.  Bina Venkataraman, 2008-2009 Metcalf Environmental Reporting Fellow, The Boston Globe


The Metcalf Institute Environmental Reporting Fellowships provided traditionally under-represented racial and ethnic minority journalists with an opportunity to learn basic science, gain environmental research and reporting skills, and apply new knowledge and skills in an environmental reporting assignment.

The Environmental Reporting Fellowships consisted of four weeks of scientific study at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography with science faculty mentors, including an orientation and immersion workshop that integrates science and environmental justice issues; and 37 weeks of reporting on science and the environment with reporter and editor mentors. Fellows worked in radio, television, print and web outlets such as: The New York Times; PRI's The World; The American Prospect; CNN/CNN.com Live; Chicago Tribune/chicagotribune.com; The Christian Science Monitor; Minnesota Public Radio; National Geographic; NOVA Science Television; The Providence Journal; The Boston Globe; and Talk of the Nation: Science Friday.

Eligible journalists were required to have a minimum of one year of professional journalism experience, U.S. citizenship, and a demonstrated interest in improving their environmental and science reporting skills.

The Environmental Reporting Fellowships were funded primarily by Grant No. 0503497 from the Geosciences Division of the National Science Foundation. (From 2006 to 2008, this program was called Diversity Fellowships in Environmental Reporting.) Additional funding came from The Providence Journal Charitable Foundation.


This program has done a wonderful job of bringing diversity and more reporting help to our newsroom during a time when financial pressures are forcing us to cut back on our resources for covering the news.
Peter B. Lord, Environment Writer, The Providence Journal


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April 4, 2011