Press Release - USM to Sponsor SEJ National Conference

October 4, 2002

USM to Sponsor Society of Environmental Journalists' National Conference Oct. 9-13 in Baltimore

National Gathering Brings Together Top-Flight Journalists, Educators to Discuss Major Environmental Issues

The University System of Maryland (USM) will sponsor the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) 2002 Annual Conference, to be held October 9-13 at the Wyndham Hotel, 101 West Fayette Street in Baltimore. The event will bring together hundreds of journalists and researchers, commentators and policy experts from the USM and dozens of other institutions to discuss major environmental issues as well as the coverage of environmental affairs.

Highlights of the event include a number of tours, panels, plenary and lunch sessions with top speakers from science, industry, government agencies, and advocacy groups.Faculty from various USM institutions will be involved in discussions on environmental issues of interest pertaining to Maryland as well as the rest of the country, such as marine and coastal issues, environmental health, bioterrorism, energy conservation and alternative energy sources, invasive species, suburban sprawl, environmental justice, Freedom of Information issues, globalization, climate change, environmental politics, and more. The program was completely planned by journalists.

USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan will deliver remarks during the opening plenary session (details below) and the scientific poster session, the latter to be held on Thursday, October 10 at 4 p.m. in the Liberty Ballroom. At the poster session, environmental and human-health researchers from across the USM, as well as other institutions such as the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD, will display and discuss some of their latest findings on a wide range of topics.

Key panel discussions include:

Opening Plenary: "Blind Spots: Uncovering the Taboos of Environmental Reporting." Are population growth, consumerism, and related topics too complicated and contentious for news coverage? Speakers: Sen. Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day Founder; Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University; Nicholas Eberstadt, American Enterprise Institute; Betsy Taylor, Center for the New American Dream; Lee Horwich, USA Today; Ellen Ruppel Shell, Boston University.
(Friday, Oct. 10, 8:30 - 10:15 a.m., International Ballroom)

Voting Green: Politics and Environmental Policy. With important mid-term elections only weeks away, top Democratic and Republican leaders will discuss environmental policy changes under the first two years of the Bush administration, square off on the issues and consider what impact November elections may have.
(Saturday, Oct. 12, noon - 2 p.m., International Ballroom)

Pfiesteria: Panel to examine controversy in the scientific community and media coverage of this key issue in marine science and environmental health. Speakers: JoAnn Burkholder, North Carolina State University; Wayne Litaker, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Brad Bell, WJLA-TV, Washington D.C.
(Friday, Oct. 11, 10:45 a.m. - noon, Carroll Room)

Registration information as well as the complete program are available online at .

Working journalists on assignment or daily deadline who intend to cover plenary and panel sessions may sign up for session access and fee waiver by phoning Society of Environmental Journalists Executive Director Beth Parke at 215/884-8174 through October 9. During conference hours, phone the Wyndham at 410/752-1100 and ask for the SEJ conference line.

The Society of Environmental Journalists is the only North American membership organization of working journalists dedicated to improvements in environmental reporting. SEJ has more than 1,260 members working in all types of news media, in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and 32 other countries. SEJ programs are designed by journalists to build a stronger, better-educated, and more closely connected network of professional journalists and editors who cover the environment and environment-related issues. SEJ's primary goal is to advance public understanding of critically important environmental issues through more and better environmental journalism.


Chris Hart
Phone: 301/445-2739