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UC Berkeley — Earth Journalism Scholars

The Earth Journalism Scholars program is an ongoing collaboration between the Earth Journalism Network and the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Launched in 2013, it is centered around the Earth Journalism course on international environmental reporting taught during the spring semester. 

The course, taught by adjunct faculty members James Fahn and Mark Schapiro, typically enrolls at least 14 graduate students from UC Berkeley — primarily students from the Journalism School but also from other gradate-level programs, including many science students. During the length of one semester, students explore key environmental topics, such as climate change, biodiversity, oceans, environmental health and justice, forests, food and agriculture, water and dams, and resilience. Guest speakers, many of them renowned experts in the fields of science and journalism, present the latest research and developments in their fields, after which the class holds extensive discussions about how best to cover these issues and report using these tools.

A key feature of the course is that enrolled students are eligible to apply for travel grants to journey to another country to report on an original story during spring break. Ahead of their reporting trip, students learn how to pitch and gather research, and then upon their return, they work with the lecturers to build their stories, hopefully for commercial publication or broadcast.

  • Read more: A sampling of the stories produced over the eight years of the program is compiled in an e-magazine here.

In some years, the Earth Journalism Scholars Program has carried out other activities, too. These have included hosting conferences of international journalists, supporting independent climate-related stories by JSchool students, and hosting visiting scholars — international, mid-career journalists who have shown dedication and skill in covering environmental issues — at the JSchool for a semester.  

The visiting scholars program has since been discontinued due to a decline in funding, but both EJN and Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism continue to explore other ways to collaborate; for instance, by supporting other environmental journalism classes and teaching science students how to better communicate.

For more information on the Earth Journalism course at UC Berkeley, please visit this link.

Banner image: View of the San Francisco Bay area / Credit: Cedric Letsch on Unsplash.