David Poulson

David Poulson is the editor of Great Lakes Echo. He also is the associate director of Michigan State University's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism where he teaches environmental, investigative and computer-assisted reporting. Before coming to MSU in 2003, he was a daily newspaper reporter and editor for 22 years, a period when he mostly covered environmental issues in the Great Lakes region

Recent Posts

Kittens, Great Lakes ice and paying for journalism

Upending the Basin static

The local historical society recently hosted a panel discussion of the history of the Lansing (Michigan) State Journal. That’s my local newspaper and I was particularly interested in the event as I had once worked there as an editor. What really caught my interest in a video of the discussion was a longtime State Journal staffer’s explanation of the publication’s increasing use of metrics to measure how news is consumed. She described how a video screen in the newsroom reports and ranks in real time the top 10 stories that people are reading online. Every week reporters get a report of how many people read their stories each day. Continue Reading →

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Upending the basin: drone count

This story is part of Great Lakes Echo's 'Skywatch' series (UAV Photo: APV Hovershots)

You’ve heard of the annual Audubon bird count. Now you can take part in a drone count. Not the bees – the unmanned aircraft. Here at Great Lakes Echo we’ve been running a series of stories about the use and potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. If nothing else, we’ve discovered that no one seems to have a clue of how many of these things are out there. Continue Reading →

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Green justice: Court impact on environment often overlooked

Upending the Basin static

You may have caught this weird judicial twist in a recent Great Lakes Echo story: A Wisconsin judge ruled that manure was not a waste but a valuable commodity. That’s no surprise. Anyone with a backyard garden knows that. But providing that legal stamp produced a counter-intuitive outcome. It meant that an insurer was on the hook for damages when a farm polluted nearby wells with that valuable manure. Continue Reading →

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How much snow does it take to close school?

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Great Lakes school administrators are among those who hold out the longest before closing schools for snow, according to this map of how many inches trigger such an action. Any snow – in fact, any prediction of snow – triggers closings in the south, according to mapmaker Alexandr Trubetskoy, who recently posted the map to Reddit. That doesn’t necessarily mean administrators in the south are wimps. Areas without much snow also don’t have much snow removal equipment. Trubetskoy identified himself as a high school student from Vienna, Va., in a Reddit message to Great Lakes Echo. Continue Reading →

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Big lakes, big sound

Upending the Basin static


Folks in our neck of the woods tend to be a bit biased regarding big lakes. That’s understandable when 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water flows through our region.  But are North America’s lakes the greatest of lakes? That depends on how you measure. Lake Superior has a surface area of 31,700 square miles dwarfing Siberia’s Lake Baikal’s mere 12,248 square miles. But at 25 million years old and with a depth of 5,600 feet (Lake Superior is only 1,330 feet deep), Lake Baikal is the oldest, deepest lake in the world. Continue Reading →

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A drone is still a drone by any other name

Upending the Basin static

We’re always on the look out for innovative stories and reporting techniques at Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. In a couple weeks we’ll launch a series on civilian applications of drones for gathering information about the environment. I teach a course encompassing remote sensing, including the use of drones, as newsgathering tools. So a story in the print edition of the New York Times, Drones Offer Journalists a Wider View, caught my eye at Monday’s breakfast table. It’s an interesting enough piece about a controversial technology. Continue Reading →

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