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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI's Metcalf Institute awarded $856,000 grant for diversity fellowships for environmental reporting

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. -- September 19, 2005 -- The Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting at the University of Rhode Island has been awarded an $856,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to expand its environmental reporting fellowship program for minority journalists.

For five years beginning in 2006, the institute will offer six working journalists -- up from two in each of the previous three years-- a 42-week fellowship to learn basic science, connect science to public policy issues, and work as an environmental reporter to apply their new knowledge.

"This award supporting diversity, science and journalism is a true representation of the values important to the Metcalf Institute. We're so proud to be able to provide this valuable experience to journalists from across the country for the next five years," said Jackleen de La Harpe, director of the institute based at URI�s Graduate School of Oceanography. "Since 2001 we've provided support for seven minority journalists to work in print and broadcast media. This is an excellent opportunity to take in all they can about science and the environment so they are better equipped to write about the science underlying environmental issues in their communities."

The fellowship begins with a 3-day science immersion workshop integrating science with environmental justice issues, followed by four weeks of independent study at URI, working in cooperation with scientists at the Graduate School of Oceanography. Following this independent study, the fellows will work for 37 weeks reporting on science and the environment for one of six media outlets, including NOVA Science Television/NOVA Online, Talk of the Nation: Science Friday, The Providence Journal, or public radio station WBUR.

The fellowship was first offered in 2001 with funding from The Providence Journal Charitable Foundation. Additional funding has come from the Sharpe Family Foundation, The New York Times Foundation, The Rhode Island Foundation, the Telaka Foundation, and others.

The Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting was established in 1997 with funding from the Belo Corporation, The Providence Journal Charitable Foundation, the Washington Post's Philip L. Graham Fund, and the Telaka Foundation. The Metcalf Institute was named in honor of the late publisher of The Providence Journal, Michael P. Metcalf.