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West Virginia journalists invited to WVU environmental reporting workshop

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  — WVU will host “Sensing the Environment: Investigating Community Water Stories with Sensor Journalism” on Saturday, April 30, at the WVU Reed College of Media Innovation Center in the Evansdale Crossing Building.

“This free, public workshop  – 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. – will examine America’s growing water crisis, from the Elk River chemical spill in West Virginia to the lead contamination in Flint, Michigan. Our expert panel will discuss elevating environmental reporting and engaging citizens in science stories.

Throughout the workshop, there will be demonstrations, hands-on activities and candid conversations — giving participants the opportunity to explore sensor journalism, its promise and peril,” organizers said. “During this daylong event, journalists, watershed groups, citizen scientists and students will join forces to explore how we can experience environmental data beyond our smartphones and computer screens.


Saturday, April 309:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the WVU Reed College of Media Innovation Center in the Evansdale Crossing Building9:30 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Wake up! Join us for coffee and refreshments!

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Tapping Into What Matters: Telling Science Stories
This ignite-style panel discussion will take a candid look at the pros and cons of investigating environmental stories with sensors, why telling science stories matters and the power of connecting community members to what’s happening in their own backyards.

11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Let’s eat! Working lunch and networking

1 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Breakout Sessions:

  • Can You Hack It? DIY Water Sensor BuildingLet’s do this! Don Blair and Jillian Clemente will lead you through a mini-makeathon to build a water conductivity sensor.
  • The Art of Dataviz: Spinning Data into StoryLearn by doing: John Keefe and Dave Mistich will teach you tricks and tools for turning sensor data into visual stories.
  • Coal Mining’s Impact: A Polluted Stream Gets a Second LookWVU College of Media graduate students Colleen Good and Shishira Sreenivas will walk participants through the evolution of their story on water quality problems in a Grafton, West Virginia, stream.
  • Making Science Make Sense: How to Talk to the MediaJoin Jason Hubbart for a rapid experimental session to get feedback on crafting your science into bite-size, easily digestible information.

3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Happy Hour:
– Meet and greet with the photographers from “In The Air” exhibit
– Maker Journalism show and tell
Join us for refreshments!

4:45 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Horizon Watch: Sensor Tech and the Internet of Things
Trend report and closing remarks

Register here:




John Keefe @Jkeefe
Senior Editor for Data News, WNYC;
Innovator-in-Residence, Reed College of Media’s WVU Stream Lab

Pioneer in sensor journalism, adventurer in journalism, mapmaking, code mangling and hardware hacking. Our previous Knight-funded Innovator-in-Residence, Keefe is a Member of WNYC’s Data News Team, one of the DIY co-conspirators on Team Blinky and a former science editor for Discovery Channel Online.


Don Blair @donwblair
Fellow, Public Lab; Research Affiliate, MIT Media Lab
Blair has been working with to develop tools for DIY, community-led environmental research. Recently, the lab has been focusing on open source tools for water quality monitoring.


Emily Garner @emilydgarner
Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D., Virginia Tech
Garner’s emphasis is on environmental and water resources engineering. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from West Virginia University. She is also a member of the Virginia Tech Flint Water Study Team that was instrumental in exposing water contamination in Flint, Michigan.


David Mistich @davemistich
Digital Editor/Coordinator, WV Public Broadcasting;
Innovator-in-Residence, Reed College of Media’s WVU Stream Lab

As West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s first digital editor and coordinator, Mistich oversees news coverage online and works with the news staff in developing new and unique ways of telling stories on the Web. He has extensive experience covering the water crisis in Charleston, West Virginia. He is an award-winning reporter and has contributed to National Public Radio newscasts and newsmagazine programs including “All Things Considered.”


Jason Hubbart
Director of the West Virginia University Institute of Water Security and Science 
Hubbart is a professor of hydrology and water quality in the Division of Plant and Soil Sciences in the School of Agriculture and Food and in the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources in the School of Natural Resources. He teaches and conducts research in the fields of hydrology, watershed management and water quality, and environmental biophysics, and directs the WVU Interdisciplinary Hydrology Laboratory.

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