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UM Offers New Graduate Degree in Environmental Journalism

The University of Montana School of Journalism is now accepting applications from candidates interested in earning degrees from its new master’s program in environmental science and natural resource journalism.

The school will accept applications until Feb. 15, 2010, and select its first class in April. The new program will begin classes fall semester 2010.

The school created the program to address the growing need for journalists who can better understand pressing science and natural resource issues, UM School of Journalism Dean Peggy Kuhr said.

"We’re very excited about the new program, because it strengthens and focuses our graduate degree," Kuhr said. "The school already offers a strong degree in journalism at the undergraduate level, so we decided to add this focus on environmental science and natural resources at the graduate level. It expands upon expertise among our faculty and will allow students and faculty to work alongside top scientists across campus."

Associate Professor Henriette Lowisch, who returned to UM this year after serving as the journalism school’s T. Anthony Pollner Distinguished Professor in 2006, is the program director. She said students will prepare for careers in environmental journalism through practical training in print, photo, broadcast and online media, and by taking courses in the hard sciences, ethics and law, among others. Almost half of the course work for the two-year program will consist of classes outside of journalism, such as wildlife biology and forestry.

"Stories about what we call ‘the environment’ cross beats and media," Lowisch said. "They need to be told by reporters who ‘get’ science as well as economics and global politics.

"My prediction is that there’ll be more than enough jobs to go around for journalists who are versatile storytellers and knowledgeable about energy policy, climate change and conservation issues," she said.

For more information about the new master’s program, visit http://www.jour.umt.edu/degree-programs/ma-journalism.