Maryland News21: Multimedia Seminar in Environmental Reporting


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Jody Brannon
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Maryland
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This Carnegie-Knight News21 cross-disciplinary course provides instruction in the fundamentals of environmental reporting through study of the effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in North America. Through readings and dialogue with experts on Bay issues, students will explore the key science, public policy and economic issues involved in the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort. They will analyze sources of Bay pollution and strategies being taken to curb it. Students will probe—and be encouraged to think critically about—the reasons most scientists and policy experts believe the restoration effort has not succeeded so far. As the class moves from one topic to another, students also will explore multimedia techniques for telling stories about the Chesapeake Bay, including creative ways to inform and engage citizens online.

This course blends seminar and skills instructional formats but tilts toward a seminar. The small class size lends itself to in-depth discussions with the leading Bay experts and noted faculty members who will visit the class, giving short lectures followed by dialogues on their research/work. The first two-thirds of the semester focuses on academic study of Bay science and public policy issues; the final third focuses on multimedia storytelling. Even early in the semester, students will be encouraged to think critically about innovative strategies and methods for telling stories about the Bay.