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Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Poulson" <poulson@msu.edu>
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    Great Lakes Wiki

Press contacts:

David Poulson
Associate Director
MSU Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
517 432 5417
poulson@msu.edu

Cliff Lampe
Assistant Professor
MSU Dept. of TISM
517 432-1334
lampecli@msu.edu

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Great Lakes environmental issues will be reported by a
collaboration of students and citizens in a unique journalism project at
Michigan State University.
   The effort by MSU's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and the
university's Department of Telecommunications, Information Studies and Media
is one of ten community news experiments supported by J-Lab: The Institute
for Interactive Journalism at the University of Maryland.
   Winners of the "New Voices" funding, announced April 18, were selected
from 185 applicants nationwide. Each will receive up to $17,000 over two
years.
   "This project will heighten awareness of the environmental challenges
faced by the people who live near 20 percent of the world's fresh surface
water," said David Poulson, associate director of the Knight Center. "It
empowers citizens to cover issues underreported by mainstream media
while training students in new journalism techniques."
   The Great Lakes project will use the communication and community-building
technologies exemplified by the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Students will
investigate Great Lakes contaminated areas identified by the U.S. and
Canadian governments. They will create online descriptions of problems,
solutions, contaminants, health consequences, industries, local leaders and
other issues surrounding these sites.
   Complex histories of contaminated sites will be illustrated with
interactive timelines linked to supporting documents and images. The
students will then help environmental, industrial and government groups
already engaged in these issues learn to augment and edit entries
themselves. The idea is to leverage the expertise of non-traditional
journalists to accurately report complex environmental news.
   "Technologies like the wiki software should be widely available to
citizens, not kept in the hands of the few," said Cliff Lampe, a MSU
assistant professor and co-director of the project. "There are exciting new
possibilities for people to take action about the things they care about,
and technologies like this play a key role.
  "This exemplifies the land grant mission - connecting research and
practice."
    More about the ten New Voices projects is at
http://www.j-lab.org/nv06release.shtml.


Dave Poulson
Associate Director
Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
Michigan State University 


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