The Knight-Risser Prize
for Western Environmental Journalism
The Knight-Risser Prize and Symposium are being reimagined to better encourage coverage of important environmental issues affecting the West. Please follow @JSKstanford on Twitter for more information and announcements.

2013 Knight-Risser Prize Symposium
Wildlife, Wired
How Technology Is Changing Nature Reporting

Pilotless aircraft, camera traps, and satellite trackers are making it easier than ever to capture breathtaking images of wild species and detailed insights into their movements. Can technology bring readers closer to the natural world, while causing less disturbance? As western communities and economic development push further into wild spaces, can journalists better illustrate the impact of human activity? And what happens when residents learn more about who passes through their backyard, from pests to predators like bears, wolves, and mountain lions?

To explore these questions and more, please join us in celebrating Emilene Ostlind and Joe Riis, winners of the 2012 Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism for their report "Perilous Passages" in High Country News. Ostlind spent four seasons tracking pronghorn migration across 120 miles of Wyoming's Green River Valley, while Riis – a biologist by training – used camera traps to capture striking photographs of the animals on the move. Joining them for a panel discussion on technology and wildlife reporting are the photojournalist and John S. Knight Journalism Fellow Samaruddin Stewart, biology professor and nature photographer Susan McConnell, and Philippe Cohen, director of Stanford's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.

A reception with light refreshments and an exhibition of the winning entry will precede the event.

Panel Discussion, Award Presentation and Q&A Session

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013
Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge
Stanford University


Samaruddin Stewart, Moderator
Visual Journalist
John S. Knight Journalism Fellow,Stanford University

Emilene Ostlind
High Country News Magazine
Winner, 2012 Knight-Risser Prize for "Perilous Passages"

Joe Riis
Wildlife Photojournalist
Winner, 2012 Knight-Risser Prize for "Perilous Passages"

Susan McConnell
Susan B. Ford Professor of Biology
Stanford University

Philippe Cohen
Jasper Ridge Biologial Preserve, Stanford University

Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge
Stanford University (at the Medical School)
291 Campus Drive West
Stanford, CA
(View map: Stanford | Google)

The discussion will be preceded by a public reception. Please RSVP using the form below.

Parking on campus is free after 4pm.


Panelist Biographies

Samaruddin Stewart, Moderator

Samaruddin StewartSamaruddin Stewart is a 2013 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. He has worked in journalism and online media for leading newspapers, international wire services, and managed staffs at one of the top news websites in the world. Along his career he has had the opportunity to cover everything from presidential inaugurations and political conventions to natural disasters and rock concerts and has traveled to over 60 countries on six continents.



Emilene Ostlind

Emilene OstlindEmilene Ostlind grew up exploring the Bighorn Mountains and surrounding basins in northern Wyoming. She studied creative nonfiction writing and environment and natural resources at the University of Wyoming. She’s spent time at National Geographic magazine, Wyoming Wildlife magazine and High Country News. She now lives in Laramie, Wyoming, where she works as communications coordinator for the University of Wyoming Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources.



Joe Riis

Joe RiisJoe Riis is a wildlife photojournalist and biologist. His first longterm project focused on pronghorn migration in western Wyoming with writer Emilene Ostlind; now he photographs conservation stories for National Geographic. Joe has received a National Geographic Young Explorer award and an Emmy award for nature cinematography. Joe's work is shaped by science and conservation and his belief that photography can connect our culture to critical issues facing wildlife and wild places today. He is 28 years old and lives in rural South Dakota. 



Susan McConnell

Susan McConnellSusan McConnell has been a Professor in the Biology Department at Stanford since 1989. In the lab, McConnell and her colleagues study the molecular, genetic, and cellular mechanisms of brain development, using the mouse as a model system. At the core of her work, she is trying to understand how neurons know what kind of connections to make. In addition to her work in developmental neurobiology, McConnell is an avid wildlife photographer whose photos have appeared in Smithsonian, Outdoor Photographer, and other magazines. She is particularly interested in the intersection between biology and the arts, and she teaches two courses at Stanford that explore this intersection. 



Philippe Cohen

Philippe CohenDr. Philippe S. Cohen is the administrative director of Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. Dr. Cohen is responsible for the continuing ecological health of the Preserve and support of research and educational programs. He is dedicated to educating people on the importance of biological field stations such as JRBP, where long-term research can be carried out and work builds on years of research and monitoring. Prior to his current position, Dr. Cohen was the first resident director of the University of California Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center. As director and manager of these biological field stations, he has been involved in land management issues ranging from desert grazing, mining, and water rights, but in recent years has developed a particular interest in issues associated with the urban/wildland interface.




Previous symposiums:

Knight-Risser Prize Symposium
January 25, 2012:
“Adapting to Dry Times: The Role of the Media in an Increasingly Arid West ”

Knight-Risser Prize Symposium
November 17, 2010:
“The Crisis in Western Environmental Journalism”

Risser Prize Symposium
January 27, 2010:
“Visualizing the Environment”

2008 Risser Prize Symposium
March 13, 2008:
“Environmental Fallout of the Cold War”

2005 Risser Prize Symposium
November 1, 2005:
“Water in the West: 21st Century Challenges in a 19th Century Legal Framework”


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