Ronald Kendall, Ph.D. professor of environmental toxicology at Texas Tech University, said the 22nd annual Society of Environmental Journalists conference turned out to be an incredible event.
“This was an incredibly unique opportunity and I think we took full advantage of it,” Kendall said.
According to the SEJ website, the 22nd annual conference was held in Lubbock, Oct. 17 through Oct. 21.
Assistant professor Kelly Kaufhold said he was able to attend the conference multiple days.
Kaufhold said the conference was split up into six categories: craft, nation, water, computer, land and economy.
One thing Kaufhold said he learned from a computer session was data visualization.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about data visualization for the past couple of years, which is taking data and making it more interactive,” Kaufhold said. “I’m dying to take some of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) data and play with it in that way.”
Kaufhold said he is always looking for new multimedia techniques to incorporate into his multiplatform reporting class, and he said this is one thing he feels the students can learn in order to become multiplatform journalists.
Aside from information sessions, Kaufhold said, the conference offered field trips and workshops. He said Lubbock was a great location to host the event because of its accessibility to many of the fieldtrips, such as the cave tours in Carlsbad, N.M. and the oil and gas fields in Midland.
Kendall said the opportunity to bring an organization to Lubbock, one which represents the world, allows the research programs at Tech to gain visibility as it begins to immerge as a national research university.
“I think that’s pretty phenomenal when you can have most of the nation and so many parts of the world here to actually be here, to interact, to go to labs, to interact with faculty and so on,” Kendall said.
Kaufhold said many students and faculty took advantage of the ability to interact with so many different representatives.
Kaufhold said students from the university’s chapter of Society of Professional Journalists volunteered to work the event, doing audio or video recording sessions.
Tanner Tate, a junior journalism major from Henrietta and president of SPJ, said he attended the event and he volunteered to audio record four sessions.
“The Reusing Wastewater session was really cool and interesting,” Tate said. “I listened to a few professionals discuss how to use wastewater and turn it into drinking water, water for corporation use, and create energy. It was pretty awesome.”
Tate said some of the sessions were not as interesting, but he enjoyed the conference overall.
“I enjoyed being around so many journalists that take passion in their field of environmental reporting,” Tate said. “It was really an inspiration for me, as an aspiring journalist, to have the same passion in my endeavors.”
Kendall said the support from the Lubbock community and the West Texas region was phenomenal. He said the organization responded positively from their stay in Lubbock.
“They became extremely impressed with what we had to offer, to host the meeting and also to engage them,” Kendall said.
Kendall said the organization not only offered Lubbock high visibility, but also helped impact the community economically, bringing support and money for, what he thinks will be, years.
“As we are immerging as a national research university, and increasing our profile academically this is a great opportunity, to project the Texas Tech interest in research and so on,” Kendall said.
-by Emily Pellegrini
Contributed to The Hub by Jour 3312