I teach a wide range of courses, primarily in print journalism, in an undergraduate program that has about 250 students. The courses range from Press in America, an introductory press history course with up to 120 students a semester, to highly specialized reporting and writing courses such as Magazine Writing, Feature Writing, and Environmental Journalism.While I come from a traditional newspaper background, for many years I have been using digital tools to assist students in their reporting and communicating, ranging from Twitter to multimedia reports.
I teach environmental journalism by getting the students out in the environment to learn about the environment. In 2012 and 2014 I taught an environmental journalism course in the spring semester that featured a trip during spring break to the Florida Everglades. In Spring 2016 I accompanied students during Spring Break to Louisiana. Students hiked in knee-deep muck, rode airboats and canoed among alligators, while gathering and producing both print stories and multimedia reports that were packaged and disseminated online. Other years the course is taught in New England. We hike in sunshine and in the snow We learn about rivers and hydroelectricity along the roaring dams of the Willimantic River, we learn about biodiversity at the site where the last wolf in Connecticut was killed, we learn about farming and the drive for local food by hiking the farms of Eastern Connecticut.
Science Journalism and Communication
I work with graduate science students and some science faculty to improve the ability of scientists to communicate with the public. The primary class I have developed features undergraduate journalism students interviewing graduate science students. The interviews are video recorded and critiqued in class. A second class in Fall 2014 taught graduate science students to improve their ability to write and and produce digital reports for the public. Beginning in 2015 we began administering a federal grant that featured two three-credit courses as well as conducting research into the impact of science communication. I work primarily with two colleagues, Margaret Rubega and Robert Capers, both with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
I teach an online course for journalism and non-journalism majors examining the great films depicting journalism and discussing the issues that they raise. Students watch such films as Good Night, Good Luck, Citizen Kane, Absence of Malice, Broadcast News, All the President’s Men and many more. The course was first taught in Summer 2015, it is planned for summer 2016.
Other courses: Press in America, Feature Writing, Magazine Writing, Copy Editing, Newswriting.
I began teaching basic journalism courses part-time in 1980 at Rhode Island College in Providence, R.I. and later at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. In 1993 the Providence Journal granted me a leave of absence so that I could teach fulltime for one semester at Michigan State University. I helped to develop what became the school’s highly respected Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.