ENGLISH 344 - Writing for Publication/Public Writing
Fall 2021, Section 002 - Environmental Journalism: Reporting About Science, Policy, and Public Health
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course aims to give students an introduction to the world of mass media, with a strong emphasis on reporting and writing about the environment and public health. This class has consistently won high praise from students for providing personalized, hands-on training in improving writing skills. Students learn from two prize-winning journalists who have more than 40 years combined experience covering the environment and public health for media outlets such as The New York Times, Newsweek, The Detroit Free Press, and National Public Radio. Each week, the course focuses on a different topic in the news related to the environment or public health, which may include alternative energy, the environmental future of the auto industry, energy efficiency, climate change, environmental justice, garbage, pandemics, or cancer.

Students hear from a range of leading experts on the topic of the day, learning not only about the subject itself but also about the process of journalism. Guest speakers are chosen to represent many points of view. They range from corporate executives to environmental activists, scientists, government officials, and journalists. Past speakers have included former SNRE Dean Rosina Bierbaum; Donele Wilkins, Executive Director of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice; State Senator Liz Brater; Zoe Lipman of The National Wildlife Federation; Mike Johnston of the Michigan Manufacturers’ Association; Joe White, The Wall Street Journal’s Detroit Bureau chief; Lester Graham of The Environment Report, a public radio show; and 60 Minutes producer Alden Bourne, among many others. Along the way, instructors lecture and steer discussions about media ethics, interviewing skills, freedom-of-information laws, the Internet as a source of information, government databases, and many other journalism-related topics.

Course Requirements:

  • Active participation in class discussions
  • In-class writing exercises
  • Critiques of classmates' papers
  • A 1,000-word profile of a person in the environmental/public health field
  • A 2000-word magazine article on an environmental/public health issue
  • Multiple drafts of major writing assignments
  • A brief description of a new way for gathering or delivering information about the environment and public health, such as an app or website
  • Analysis of the structure of environmental and health stories
  • Covering a local government meeting where environmental or health issues are discussed
  • Practice "pitching" story ideas and business ideas

Intended Audience:

Concentrators in any field of study are welcome, especially those who are interested in environmental and/or public health issues and seek to improve their writing and communication skills. The class is deliberately limited to 20 students to facilitate discussion among students, so class participation is essential.

Class Format:

Learning Mode: As a DC (Distance due to COVID) course, all aspects of this course will be fully compatible with remote online learning. This course will be delivered synchronously for the Fall 2021 term.

Instruction Mode: Weekly class meetings will take place fully online and will be delivered synchronously. Students should look to the syllabus for schedules of synchronous participation materials.


ENGLISH 344 - Writing for Publication/Public Writing
Schedule Listing
002 (SEM)
Th 9:00AM - 12:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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