How to Become an Environmental Reporter


You’ve taken your pulse, read tons of articles on ecological issues, you’re concerned about food policy with all the genetically modified organisms sneaking into our food chain and what about the Mississippi River flooding over its banks with more floods on the way.

Ecological issues abound in the world today and they aren’t going to disappear any time soon.

Here are a number of strategies that will make becoming an environmental reporter a smooth sail:

1) Offer your writing skills to a non-profit dedicated to improving the environment in an area of your interest. Learn what they know, meet people who work in your interest field, and rack up good deed hours–you can even ask some fellow article writers to tag along! Plus, once you are established these are people to revisit to write for pay. Another plus, with the organization’s name on your resume you get instant recognition and value. (Caution: Time is money in the freelance world and there’s no reward for long haul servitude).

2) Learn scientific basics across disciplines. Environmental science isn’t an isolated field of its own, but an intersection where biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science converge. Big stories bring these fields together. Take an environmental course online or at a university. Take the environmental science course offered by the Annenberg Foundation that won a AAAS award.

3) Hook up with social networks. Join LinkedIn and the various environmental subgroups available. Sign up for an account on Twitter and follow as many green, ecological and environmental peeps as you can handle. Once up to speed post motivating environmental dispatches to get like-minded peeps to follow you. Mondays are known as EcoMonday on Twitter. With each environmental post include the hash tag #EcoMonday at the end of the post.

4) Get focused. Environmental issues are broad ranging and limitless. Discover as you go what aspect of the environmental story attracts your passion. Focus that energy around your interest, as it will ignite the story you write allowing it to come alive to your audience.

5) Understand the scientific method by reading as much as possible in the areas you want to write about. Read the Daily Climate , Environmental Health News, Science magazine, Yale Environment 360 and the Open Notebook

6) Attend seminars and conferences for environmental writers. There’s plenty to choose from including Society of Environmental Journalist (SEJ), The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Conferences are great places to meet editors of green publications. Join these organizations

7) Kick-start your fund of knowledge, stock up on environmental books. Some of the best ones can be found at the Society of Environmental Journalists. Invest in a high-quality environmental science textbook. And, when you need to expand your mind, tune into the Ted Talks and Ted Conversations.

8.) Apply for an environmental fellowship. Check out Environment America, Multicultural Environmental Leadership Development Initiative and the Society of Environmental Journalists

9) Take a course in multi-media skills. The articles you write will come to life with video or slideshow.

10) Join an environmental writer’s association. A good one is the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) with 1,500 members who are journalists, academics and students working in every type of news media in the United States, Canada and at least 26 other countries. To join go to the Web site for more information

A belief in yourself, the ability to talk yourself through tough times and a positive attitude go a long way to overcoming any obstacles on your path to becoming an environmental reporter.

Oh, and you might need to put your impatience on ice for awhile because you becoming an environmental reporter might not happen overnight, but it will happen at the exact moment when you are ready.





Should You Break News on Twitter? Do People Trust Social Media for News? How Should Journalists Use Facebook?


Today, we have a group of how-to stories for journalists. We have an insight into Facebook’s new journalist page, some advice on how to break stories on your website from the ASNE,  and some tips on how to conduct a stellar Twitter chat session.

It’s all the news fit to blog at Ebyline’s Daily Dose.

Vadim Lavrusik: How journalists can make use of Facebook Pages

“The Facebook News Feed is essentially a social newspaper. With it, you’re able to read and discover news shared by your friends, journalists, and media organizations you like. The personalized news stream includes everything from news about your friends’ lives to their reactions to a news article. It’s not only what is being shared, but who is sharing it that’s important.”

Break news on your website, not on Twitter’

“The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) has issued a social media guide for newspapers with lots of good recommendations, but this one stands out: “Break news on your website, not on Twitter.” Why? Here’s the key part of the explanation from the “10 Best Practices for Social Media” report…”

Traditional Media And Internet More Trusted Than Social Media For Research News

“‘The modern media landscape has become very complex, which creates many more opportunities to communicate with many more people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Kevin Klose, dean, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland. “At the same time, this presents a challenge in communicating about complex issues such as medical and health research findings.’”

Twitter Chats, The Ultimate How To Guide

“Hosting or participating in a twitter chat is a great way to bring a community of people together to dig deeper into a topic of interest. These discussions can help work through issues facing an industry or simply create a real-time forum to chat about an event or product. The concept of hosting or participating in a Twitter chat can be daunting. Let’s break them down to their key elements and explore some of the best practices.”

The 5 must-knows about how readers navigate news online, drawn from new Pew study

How do readers get to news sites? How long do they stay once there? And where do they go when they leave? Just two months after releasing the mammoth State of the News Media 2011 report, my industrious friends at Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism have a detailed new report to answer those questions.  Based on analysis of nine months of Nielsen data about the 25 largest U.S. news sites, the study confirms many truisms about online behavior but also yields some surprises.


Wonder How EByline Works? Watch This Video!

video screengrab

As many of you already know, Ebyline streamlines content production and communication between freelancers, content writers, and publications. But sometimes, it may be a bit of a challenge to explain exactly how it works to your friends. We’ve been there too! So we created this short video that is a quick overview of what we’re all about. Feel free to pass it to your colleagues and spread the word about EByline!

Daily Dose: Everyblock Redesigned, ProPublica’s New Timeline Tech, Cover Letter Tips, AOL Continues Cuts + More News


For today’s serving of stories, we have some tips on new timeline technology and how to write a killer cover letter. Also from the Future of Journalism desk, we have an analysis on Everyblock’s redesign for increased hyperlocalism, and the scoop on Wall Street Journal’s iPad plan.

Read all the news fit to blog in today’s Ebyline Daily Dose.

TimelineSetter: A New Way to Display Timelines on the Web

“The timeline is a very useful way to visualize sequences of events, and they’re especially useful to orient readers within the complex investigative stories we do at ProPublica. But they’re not very easy to make. As far as we know, there are no good open source frameworks that web developers can use to generate timelines quickly without losing design flexibility. So we made our own, which is debuting today.”

How to Write a Cover Letter

“Learn how to write a targeted, customized cover letter that will get you in the door”

What Everyblock’s Redesign Tells Us About The Future Of Hyperlocal News Sites

“With yesterday’s relaunch, new social elements have been integrated into the site that encourage users to share and interact with their neighbors both online and off. So what are these changes, and what insight do they give us into the future of hyperlocal news?”

WSJ Launching Single-Issue Downloads For iPad

“Looking to get more subscribers for its iPad app, The Wall Street Journal will start selling single-issue digital versions of its morning paper for $1.99 in the iTunes App store tomorrow.”

AOL Folds 30 Brands, Including Politics Daily

“First it was the people. Now it’s the brands. AOL just notified staffers of a major consolidation of its portfolio of content sites, undertaken as part of its merger with the Huffington Post.”

Ebyline Partners With Internet Broadcasting, Adds 300+ More Freelancers


We have some exciting news here at Ebyline.  Today, we announced our new partnership with Internet Broadcasting and Los Angeles Times Media Group, which will add approximately 300 new, experienced freelancers to Ebyline’s network.

Jeff Kimball, Chief Operating Officer of IB, talks about the new partnership:

At the core of Internet Broadcasting’s success is building engaging online experiences and doing it in a cost effective way. As soon as we met Ebyline and saw their platform for managing freelancers, we knew that it would be a great fit for us and our partners. Ebyline has made our relationships with our freelance writers far more efficient and allowed us to expand the depth of the content we provide to our local media customers.

As for Internet Broadcasting, here is a brief summary:

Internet Broadcasting is the leading provider of solutions that deeply engage audiences and increase revenue for media publishers and advertisers. IB customers get measurable results using end-to-end and a la carte solutions for SaaS Web publishing, news & content and local advertising. IB customers succeed because they are able to navigate the rapidly changing marketplace and grow their digital businesses in a demonstrably cost-effective way.

We’re excited about working with the editors and freelancers from IB and The Times to create great content and collaborate more effectively.

- Bill & Allen