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College of Media to host workshop, panel discussion to address America's growing water crisis and the use of sensor journalism

water sensor

Students at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media are researching and reporting on water concerns through the College’s StreamLab project. Now they will join forces with journalists, watershed groups and citizen scientists to take a look at the opportunities, challenges and potential community role in using sensors to tell environmental stories.

“Sensing the Environment: Investigating Community Water Stories With Sensor Journalism,” is a free public workshop that will be held at the College’s Media Innovation Center April 30. This event is open to journalists who cover science and environmental stories, watershed groups, citizen scientists, journalism, science and engineering students.

The event will examine America’s growing water crisis, from the Elk River chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia, to the lead contamination in Flint, Michigan. Our expert panel will discuss elevating environmental reporting and engaging citizens in science stories.

In addition, there will be demonstrations, hands-on activities and candid conversations—giving participants the opportunity to explore sensor journalism, its promise and peril.

Featured guests include former StreamLab Innovator-in-Residence and Senior Editor for Data News at public radio station WNYC in New York John Keefe; Fellow at Public Lab and Research Affiliate at MIT Media Lab Don Blair; Engineering Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech and a member of the team that was instrumental in exposing water contamination in Flint, Michigan, Emily Garner and Digital Editor and Coordinator for West Virginia Public Broadcasting Dave Mistich, who is also a former Innovator-in-Residence for the StreamLab project.

This project is sponsored by the Online News Association with support from Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation. The StreamLab project is part of the Knight-funded Innovators-in-Residence program.

In addition to the workshop, “In The Air: Visualizing What We Breathe” gallery exhibit will be featured. Photographers Lynn Johnson, Brian Cohen, Scott Goldsmith and Annie O’Neill have spent the last year recording people and places that illustrate the environmental, social and economic effects of air quality in Western Pennsylvania. Several of the photographers will be present at the meet and greet at the close of the workshop.

To register for the workshop and to get more information visit: