2017 Summit: Environmental Journalism, Trumped?

Saturday March 11, 2:40 Weinmann Hall, Room TBD

While words like global warming and climate change disappeared from the Whitehouse.gov web site on inauguration day, it’s doubtful that President Donald Trump or his cabinet will be able to stop coverage on those and other pressing environmental issues in the next four years. Our panel of journalists will talk about potential obstacles to their work, and what the hot environmental topics will be during the Trump administration.

Mark Schleifstein, Environmental Reporter


Mark Schleifstein is the environment and hurricane reporter for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. He is the co-author of the December 2008 series, “Losing Louisiana,” explaining the role of global warming, sea level rise and subsidence on the future of the Louisiana coastline. He also was co-author of a March 2007 series “Last Chance: The Fight to Save a Disappearing Coast,”, which won the 2008 Communications Award of the National Academy of Sciences and the 2007 and John B. Oakes Prize for Environmental Reporting from Columbia University. He’s also co-author of the 2002 series, “Washing Away,” which warned that much of New Orleans could be flooded by hurricane storm surge because levees were too low and subject to overtopping. The series won awards from the National Hurricane Conference and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Schleifstein’s reporting on Katrina was among the newspaper’s stories honored with 2006 Pulitzer Prizes for Public Service and Breaking News Reporting and the George Polk Award for Metropolitan Reporting. He’s also the co-author with John McQuaid of the book “Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms,” about Katrina. Stories he wrote on coastal science issues were honored in 2006 with a special award from the American Geophysical Union. He also was co-author of the 1996 series, “Oceans of Trouble: Are the World’s Fisheries Doomed?”, which won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Two other series he co-authored were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize: , “Home Wreckers: How the Formosan termite is devastating New Orleans,” published in 1998, finalist for national reporting; and “Louisiana in Peril,” published in 1991, finalist for explanatory journalism. Schleifstein is a member of the board of directors of the Society of Environmental Journalists.


Bob Marshall, Journalist

bob-marshallBob Marshall is a New Orleans journalist whose reporting on Louisiana coastal issues for The Lens and The Times-Picayune has been recognized by two Pulitzer Prizes; the John H. Oakes Prize for Distinguished Environmental Reporting from Columbia University; the Keck Award for best science reporting from The National Academies of Sciences, the Edward Murrow Award from the Radio, Television and Digital News Association, Gannett Award for Innovative Watchdog Journalism from the Investigative Reports and Editors Association, The National Headliners Award and many others.


Debbie Elliott (Moderator), National Correspondent, NPR News

debbie elliott.JPGNPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott can be heard telling stories from her native South.  She covers the latest news and politics, and is attuned to the region’s rich culture and history.

She’s reported on the catastrophic flooding in Louisiana, the Emanuel AME Church massacre in Charleston, and the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub.

She’s looked at the legacy of landmark civil rights struggles, and follows ongoing efforts to seek justice in cold cases from that era.  Current topics she tracks include the debates over immigration, transgender rights, and policing in America.

Debbie has reported on the recovery from Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast, and the impact of the BP oil spill.  She launched the series, “The Disappearing Coast,” which examines Louisiana’s complicated relationship with the oil and gas industry, and the oil spill’s lasting imprint on a fragile coastline. She’s tracking how states are spending funds from BP’s court settlements and pollution fines.

Debbie profiles prominent figures, such as Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards.  Her stories also give a taste of southern culture, from the hot chicken craze to exploring the roots of American music at Mississippi’s new Grammy Museum.

Debbie is a former host of NPR’s news magazine All Things Considered on the Weekends.   She reported on Congress from Capitol Hill, and has been covering Presidential elections for more than two decades.

Debbie Elliott was born in Atlanta, grew up in the Memphis area, and is a graduate of the University of Alabama.   She lives in south Alabama with her husband and two children.