Journalists learn as Scripps environmental fellows
Five journalists are in Boulder this year as Ted Scripps Fellows in Environmental Journalism at CU Journalism & Mass Communication. The fellows are nationally and internationally recognized journalists whose areas of expertise range from the nuclear crisis in Japan to environmental and social justice issues.
The nine-month fellowships offer experienced journalists an opportunity to deepen their understanding of environmental issues and policy through coursework, independent projects, seminars and field trips in the region. The fellowships are hosted by the Center for Environmental Journalism in CU’s Journalism & Mass Communication program, and funded by a grant from Cindy Scripps through the Scripps Howard Foundation.
The Ted Scripps Fellows are:
Brian Calvert is an independent radio producer and freelance writer based in Southern California. Previously, he was a freelance foreign correspondent, reporting from across Asia and the Pacific — primarily on foreign affairs and security issues. His work has taken him to Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Southern Thailand, Israel and the West Bank. He also spent four years as an associated editor at the English-language Cambodia Daily in Phnom Pen. Calvert’s radio work has aired on KCRW’s “Which Way, L.A?” and “UnFictional,” as well as WNYC’s “Studio 360” and CBC’s “Dispatches.” His print work has appeared in Guernica, the New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal Asia, Pacific Standard and others.
Born and raised in Wyoming, Calvert is now aiming to chronicle, through audio storytelling, how climate change is reshaping the American West.
Roberto (Bear) Guerra is a photographer who focuses on humanitarian, environmental, and social justice issues. His work been published by outlets in the United States and internationally, including Orion Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Atlantic, Virginia Quarterly Review and OnEarth. Guerra was named a Blue Earth Alliance project photographer in 2012 for “La Carretera: Life Along the Interoceanic Highway” and he was a finalist for a 2010 National Magazine Award in photojournalism. He has received funding from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Puffin Foundation, the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and Project Word.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, he is currently based in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and frequent collaborator, journalist Ruxandra Guidi, and their daughter, Camila.
Colin McDonald is the water and environment reporter at the Express-News in San Antonio, Texas. He started at the paper in 2007 and has led investigations documenting corruption at local water utilities, and violations of the Clean Water Act. To understand environmental changes he has paddled the length of the Texas coast and hiked across Big Bend National Park.
McDonald graduated from Western Washington University in 2004 with a degree in environmental journalism. He has worked at five Hearst papers and bureaus across the country, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He also spent a year at the Missoulian in Missoula, Mont.
During his time as a Scripps fellow, McDonald plans to study the conflicting laws that oversee the allocation of the waters of the Rio Grande River, the history of civilization along it, and the water conservation measures that are being taken to deal with dwindling supply. He will also prepare for a trip by raft, kayak, canoe and foot down the river from its headwaters to its mouth. During the journey he will produce a daily blog about the people and places along the river in the context of the changes that are taking place and the problems and solutions being pursued.
James Simms, a freelance reporter and television and radio commentator in Tokyo, has covered the Japanese economy and politics for nearly two decades. Previously, he was the Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street columnist analyzing corporations, policy issues and the economies in Japan and South Korea. In 2011, he won the highest writing award at Dow Jones for a series on Japan’s budget and bureaucracy. He has conducted hundreds of interviews for print and television, including for CNBC, and covered Asia’s financial crisis and the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
As a Scripps fellow, his studies will focus on issues related to Fukushima, including these: The effects of seismology on reactor safety; the impact on people and the environment of radiation, especially long-term exposure to low doses; and how to increase the use of renewable energy.
Chandra Thomas Whitfield is a print, broadcast and multimedia journalist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of outlets including Essence, Ebony, People, Newsweek, JET, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and TIME.com. This year the Atlanta chapter of the New Leaders Council presented her with its “40 Under 40″ media leadership award, and she recently won the Atlanta Press Club’s “Award of Excellence” for a radio report for Atlanta’s NPR affiliate, WABE.
Whitfield also received a 2011 Atlanta Press Club Award for a multimedia series she produced on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. She has also done award-winning work for Atlanta Magazine that contributed to a change in Georgia law and early release of a man from prison. Now living in Denver, Whitfield plans to work on a project involving environmental justice issues during her tenure as a Scripps fellow.