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Teaching Millennials to Engage THE Environment instead of THEIR Environment: A Pedagogical Analysis
Unformatted Document Text:  Introduction Teaching environmental reporting continues to be a daunting undertaking. Compared to other coverage areas of news media, the issues, sources, politics, and even ideological understandings are more difficult to reduce down into journalistic news frames. In fact, just understanding the issues involved can be challenging, as one journalist noted: When it comes to systematically covering “the environmental story,’ anyone who moves beyond the most simplistic approach sees immediately the extraordinary complexity involved even in mapping the territory, let alone understanding trends, issues, conflicting evidence, the role of information sources, and other aspects of the story. 1 This paper examines the difficulty in teaching contemporary students of journalism (those in the much-discussed Millennial Generation) to report on complex topics like science and the environment. By examining contemporary science education literature, consulting the literature about the special challenges of educating Millennials, and drawing upon the classroom experience of the researchers, this work proposes a model for motivating contemporary journalism students and helping them develop deeper understandings of the issues involved in more complex topics of news media coverage. Covering the Environment News media continue to serve a gatekeeper role concerning the filtration of civic information, and serve an almost exclusive role as the purveyors of science and technological information, 2 and Americans remain generally uninformed when it comes to even the most basic political and public policy issues. 3 Because this trend holds consistent for basic civic knowledge, one can imagine that the average citizen is 2

Authors: Stevens, Rick. and Crow, Deserai.
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Introduction
Teaching environmental reporting continues to be a daunting undertaking. 
Compared to other coverage areas of news media, the issues, sources, politics, and even 
ideological understandings are more difficult to reduce down into journalistic news 
frames. In fact, just understanding the issues involved can be challenging, as one 
journalist noted:
When it comes to systematically covering “the environmental story,’ anyone who 
moves beyond the most simplistic approach sees immediately the extraordinary 
complexity involved even in mapping the territory, let alone understanding trends, 
issues, conflicting evidence, the role of information sources, and other aspects of 
the story.
This paper examines the difficulty in teaching contemporary students of journalism 
(those in the much-discussed Millennial Generation) to report on complex topics like 
science and the environment. By examining contemporary science education literature, 
consulting the literature about the special challenges of educating Millennials, and 
drawing upon the classroom experience of the researchers, this work proposes a model 
for motivating contemporary journalism students and helping them develop deeper 
understandings of the issues involved in more complex topics of news media coverage.
Covering the Environment
News media continue to serve a gatekeeper role concerning the filtration of civic 
information, and serve an almost exclusive role as the purveyors of science and 
technological information,
 and Americans remain generally uninformed when it comes 
to even the most basic political and public policy issues.
 Because this trend holds 
consistent for basic civic knowledge, one can imagine that the average citizen is 
2


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