Our commitment to environmental journalism continues
Journalism is not for the thin-skinned
Background is in order
Thirty years and six months ago, give or take a few days, Society of Environmental Journalists founder Jim Detjen called me, described his concept for starting the organization, asked me to join, and asked me for a list of other journalists working for small, specialized, and/or rural media who might be prospects for membership.
Long list of names
Tightened membership rules excluded diversity
Now a word about Beth
Police officer, animal control officer
And a word about me
Social skills & behaviors
Animals in China
From: meera <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: SEJ-TalkDate: August 31, 2020 at 1:10:06 PM PDTTo: email@example.comCc: Meaghan Parker <firstname.lastname@example.org>, “Schleifstein, Mark” <Mschleifstein@theadvocate.com>, Michael Kodas <email@example.com>Dear Merritt and Beth,Hello, how are you? Executive Director Meaghan Parker and I are writing in response to both a formal complaint and observed posts on SEJ-Talk under the threads “NAHJ Urges End to ‘Minorities’ Label” and “Racism, blah, blah, blah.” Your statements therein are a clear violation of the Membership Agreement and Policies, which state that “Differences of opinion should not drift into rudeness, condescension and disrespect. Avoid creating or contributing to flame wars.” At times, your statements have veered into racially and ethnically charged statements that border on harassment.You have been a long-standing members of SEJ, and we value your contributions, but this behavior is unacceptable. You must abide by Membership Agreement and Policies, and the Anti-Harassment Policy in order to engage with the SEJ community.We are suspending your access to SEJ listservs for the next three months, to be effective immediately, and reinstated November 30. We look forward to your return to the shared resource of SEJ-Talk at that point to join in the conversation about the practice of environmental journalism and how to cover stories on the beat.You have the right to appeal this decision to the full Executive Committee.Sincerely,~Meera Subramaniancc: Meaghan Parker, Mark Schleifstein, Michael Kodas~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Journalist | Author | Society of Environmental Journalists Board Presidentwww.meerasub.org | @meeratweets | +1.541.337.5392
A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka
The posts in question, are below (as best we can determine. We did not post anything entitled “NAHJ Urges End to ‘Minorities’ Label”.)
That executive director was then paid a sum never disclosed to membership to depart, instead of being summarily fired, as any journalist would be for double-dipping.
[SEJ-TALK:] Racism, blah blah blah
Among the most universal traits of young whippersnappers, journalists or otherwise, is an idealistic tendency to become excessively enamored of abstract theories espoused originally by academics, while simultaneously undervaluing the experience of elders.
Our job is to report, not pre-judge
Quite a few of the list participants here who are most zealous about purging journalism of this & that which they perceive as being part of an “-ism” might do well to consider to what extent their own attitudes are part of yet another common “-ism,” agism, which manifests itself most often in young whippersnappers assuming that us old farts don’t know what we are talking about.
Merritt & Beth
Culture & structure of news organizations
How people describe themselves
<as journalists we should listen to how people describe themselves. That’s part of our doing a good job.>
Listen, yes, but call people what they want to be called?
That all depends on the context. There are a lot of white supremacists out there who would prefer to be described as patriots. Gangsters would like to be called “men of honor.” Terrorists want to be called “freedom fighters.” Dictators prefer to be described as presidents.
Ain’t going to happen on our beat.
We call people by the term that most accurately describes who they are, whether they like it or not.
That’s what’s doing a good job.
Merritt & Beth