Echo turnover builds a network of Great Lakes savvy journalists
Just as a reporter hits her or his stride, they graduate and move on to another venue.
Of course fostering the growth that allows that to happen is fulfilling for an educator. But I’d also argue that in the long-run, it’s also good for the longterm quality of Echo’s journalism.
For with every reporter we train here at Echo, we expand our network of journalists who keep us abreast of creative newsgathering elsewhere, provide Great Lakes news tips and become potential freelancers for when we secure funding for that kind of thing.
Growing and leveraging a network like that is essential for the efficient operation of public-service news operations. And it’s another reason why university-based news reporting is a vital part of sustaining vigorous journalism during his period of upheaval and realignment.
For instance, Andrew Atwal, a former Echo reporter who now works at South Dakota’s Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan, recently sent this link to a story he wrote about attempts to halt the spread of Asian carp in that state.
“…my work both in (class) and with Echo made me aware of the issue and how big a deal it is,” Atwal wrote in an email. “Both the people I interviewed for the story mentioned the Illinois/Chicago example of Asian Carp there and how much it is hurting their angling/sport fishing industries.”
I never gave much thought to the spread of carp into South Dakota. Andrew’s new job helped provide a unique angle that Echo readers wouldn’t otherwise have known about.
- Former Echo reporter Brian Bienkowski, now a senior editor at Environmental Health News, also writes for that publication and stays in touch. Watch Echo for a piece about environmental justice in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that he wrote for his new employer.
- Even from the middle of drought-stricken Texas, former Echo journalist Rachael Gleason – now a copy editor at the Midland (Texas) Reporter-Telegram – alerts us to Great Lakes relevant stories like this one.
- Closer to home, former Echo reporter Carol Thompson alerts us to beach contamination, phragmites infestations and other issues like this one occurring in Door County, Wis., where she reports for the Peninsula Pulse.
- Former Echo writers Jeff Gillies and Andy McGlashen run a non-profit news site for Michigan rivers when their day jobs allow. Echo and Michigan River News have exchanged stories in the past.
It’s great to connect current Echo writers with those who have successfully moved on.
But in this journalistic world where resources are scant and the new landscape unsure, it’s also good for Echo.
And that’s good for you.