Legacy of Rhode Island environmental reporter honored through series of seminars for journalists

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The Peter B. Lord Seminars on the Environment designed to help Rhode Island

journalists improve their coverage of environmental issues

NARRAGANSETT, RI – August 7, 2012 For many reporters in Rhode Island and beyond, Peter B. Lord was a teacher, mentor and standard-bearer for excellence in environmental reporting. Given Lord’s decades of experience building knowledge of regional environmental issues, cultivating diverse sources, and learning the science behind those stories, his death in April 2012 left a significant gap in statewide environmental news coverage. To fill this gap, and to honor Lord’s contributions to Rhode Island and environmental journalism, Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting is pleased to announce the creation of The Peter B. Lord Seminars on the Environment.

“We are thrilled by this continuation of and commitment to my father’s passionate curiosity toward environmental journalism here in Rhode Island,” said Lord’s youngest son, Benjamin. “He would be very excited and yet deeply humbled by such an important and thoughtful tribute to his work.”

Generously supported by The Providence Journal Charitable Foundation, The Rhode Island Foundation, and the Henry and Jan Rines Fund at the Rhode Island Foundation, the inaugural year of the program will begin with six daylong seminars on different environmental topics to be held at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, Metcalf Institute’s home institution. Each seminar will be open to professional journalists covering Rhode Island, and will be free to all registered participants.

“The Providence Journal Charitable Foundation is proud to co-sponsor with the Rhode Island Foundation the Peter B. Lord Seminars on the Environment, named in memory of The Journal’s longtime environmental reporter, who died April 4,” said Howard Sutton, Publisher, President, and CEO of The Providence Journal Company. “Peter’s passion for, and expertise in, environmental journalism remains an inspiration.”

“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to support Metcalf Institute in its efforts to raise awareness of our state’s environmental issues and priorities while also honoring Peter Lord’s profound contribution to Rhode Island throughout his lifetime,” said Jennifer Pereira, a grant programs officer at The Rhode Island Foundation.

The daylong seminars are designed to help participating journalists better understand the environmental concerns facing Rhode Island citizens by enhancing their understanding of the science behind the stories they cover, building contacts, and improving their environmental reporting skills. The seminars will feature Rhode Island scientists and various stakeholder groups including regulatory agencies, environmental advocates, community groups, and business interests, and will focus on the following topics relevant to southern New England:

• Climate Change Impacts in Southern New England

• Adapting to Climate Change: Planning for an Uncertain and Expensive Future

• Innovations in Renewable Energy: Profiting from Environmental Protection

• Predicting and Responding to Extreme Weather Events

• Making Sense of Water Quality

• The Future of Commercial Fisheries

“As Metcalf Institute’s journalism co-director for 12 years, Peter demonstrated his deep commitment to helping reporters make sense of complex scientific issues,” said Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute executive director. “We established the Peter B. Lord Seminars on the Environment not only to honor Peter’s memory and his contributions to Metcalf Institute, but also to help other journalists gain the skills, knowledge, and sources necessary to carry on his tradition of reporting important environmental news.” Menezes added, “we are very thankful to the Rhode Island Foundation, the Henry and Jan Rines Fund, and The Providence Journal Charitable Foundation for making this possible.”

Registering for the Seminar

The first of six seminars will take place September 14 with a focus on how climate change is affecting Southern New England. Journalists interested in participating in the any of the seminars may download a registration form from www.metcalfinstitute.org, where additional information about the seminars is also available. Each seminar will accommodate up to twenty journalists, with participation limited to the first registrants.

About Metcalf Institute

Metcalf Institute was established at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography in 1997 with funding from three media foundations, the Belo Corporation, the Providence Journal Charitable Foundation and the Philip L. Graham Fund, and with additional support from the Telaka Foundation. It is named for the late Michael P. Metcalf, a visionary in journalism and publisher of The Providence Journal Bulletin from 1979-1987. In addition to providing science training for reporters and editors to help improve the accuracy and clarity of environmental reporting, Metcalf Institute administers The Grantham Prize, the world’s largest cash prize for journalism awarded for excellence in environmental reporting. Metcalf programming is funded through federal and foundation grants, as well as private donations and an endowment managed by the URI Foundation.

About The Rhode Island Foundation

The Rhode Island Foundation is a philanthropic and community leader dedicated to meeting the needs of the people of Rhode Island. Founded in 1916, the Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the United States, and is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. In 2011, the Foundation made grants of $28 million to more than one thousand organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities. http://www.rifoundation.org