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UM News
October 04, 2012

MISSOULA –

The University of Montana School of Journalism has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to enhance the quantity and quality of environmental science news reaching Montana’s reservations and rural areas.

Residents in these areas face new and perplexing environmental resource decisions at a time when access to local news on these issues has waned. The grant will help develop a model for reporting environmental science news called Science Source, using student reporters from the UM’s graduate program in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism, as well as partner news organizations across the state.

Science Source will serve as a news desk, working with editors in radio, television, print and online to identify and produce news stories that fulfill the needs of these organizations and reach the greatest possible audience – especially audiences on Montana’s seven Indian reservations.

The partnerships developed through Science Source may serve as a model for sharing stories and resources among news organizations to enhance the availability of local environmental science news in Montana and the region.

Science Source was developed by Alison Perkins, a UM journalism adjunct faculty member. Perkins, an interdisciplinary research scientist and educator, works in television production, journalism, science education and the ecological sciences. She also teaches Story Lab, a course that partners graduate students with research scientists to help journalists understand the process of science.

The NSF grant was awarded through the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. EHR goals include building the capacity for citizens to address societal changes, as well as inspiring and engaging the public as science learners.

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Contact: Denise Dowling, interim dean, UM School of Journalism, 406-243-4001, journalism@mso.umt.edu; Alison Perkins, UM journalism adjunct instructor, 406-243-4854, alison.perkins@mso.umt.edu.