Memorial Service for Peter Lord, April 15
Peter Lord, 60, a news reporter at The Providence Journal for over 30 years and an adjunct professor of Journalism at URI, died on Wednesday, April 4, after a prolonged illness. A memorial service will be held in his honor at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 15 at Edwards Hall on the URI Kingston campus.
Peter was an award-winning environmental reporter at the Journal for three decades, and he covered every major environmental story in Rhode Island and many national stories as well. Peter traveled to northern Alaska to write about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to the Shetland Islands to cover an oil spill, and to Belize, Guatemala and Costa Rica to write about development pressures on forests. In 2002 at the invitation of the U.S. State Department he spent two weeks in Brazil teaching journalists and journalism students about environmental journalism.
His reporting covered everything from oil spills, water pollution and hazardous waste to suburban sprawl, lead paint poisoning and depleted wildlife habitats. He regularly wrote about a wide range of natural history topics, and he was chosen to write the Rhode Island chapter of Twentieth-Century New England Land Conservation: A Heritage of Civic Engagement, published in 2009.
His connections to the University of Rhode Island include more than 15 years of teaching as an adjunct in the Journalism Department. Through the university, Peter received a Freedom Forum fellowship to spend a year in the Journalism Department teaching news reporting courses and a special course he developed in Environmental reporting. John Pantalone, the chair of Journalism, said of Peter: "He was a model for students as a reporter, a teacher and a man. Students loved and admired him because he listened to them, taught them the right way to do things, and respected and guided them in a warm way. They could see his commitment to honest journalism, and they learned the power of truthful journalism when they realized that Peter's reporting actually resulted in improvements in environmental protection and conservation laws."
As one of the leading voices in the environmental reporting community, Peter was also a director of URI's Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Journalism. In that capacity he shared his knowledge in an effort to expand the number of environmental reporters throughout the country and around the world. In his role as a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Peter led training seminars and other programs to improve the quality of environmental reporting nationwide.
On his passing, Peter has received tributes and accolades from throughout the country including one from the Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency heralding him for his contributions to conservation efforts and to public environmental awareness. The New England regional EPA will honor Peter with a Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual Environmental Merit Award Ceremony later this month.
Shortly before his death, Peter received the 2012 Rhode Island Distinguished Naturalist Award from The Rhode Island Natural History Survey. It was just one of many awards he received for his reporting over the years.
A resident of South Kingstown, he is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, and his three children. Family, friends, students and colleagues are establishing a scholarship that will benefit undergraduate Journalism students with a preference for those studying environmental communications. Those who wish to contribute may contact Rebecca Schiff, Associate Dean for Development (firstname.lastname@example.org, 874-9528).