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Eric Freedman

Knight Center for Environmental Journalism Chair and Associate Professor
School of Journalism


Eric Freedman is associate professor of journalism and former associate dean of International Studies and Programs. During his 20-year newspaper career, he covered public affairs, environmental issues and legal affairs for newspapers in New York and Michigan, winning a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of a legislative corruption scandal. He teaches environmental journalism and serves as director of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. He also teaches public affairs reporting, international journalism, feature writing and media law and serves as director of the School’s Capital News Service, a professional-level internship program in which students cover state government for more than 25 newspapers and online news outlets across Michigan. Freedman earned his bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University, his law degree from New York University and his master’s degree in resource development from MSU. Internationally, he has taught journalism as a Fulbright senior scholar in Lithuania and Uzbekistan, led workshops and seminars for professional journalists in Central Asia and lectured to students in Singapore, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Japan and Kyrgyzstan.

He also has led MSU study abroad programs in Australia and the British Isles. Currently, he is an International Scholar in the Open Society Foundation’s Academic Fellowship Program, where he works with faculty members in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan. As a professional journalist and freelancer, Freedman has written for newspapers and magazines on such environmental issues as habitat protection, parks and public lands, toxic substances,extinction, ecotourism and government regulation. At MSU, he directed the Australia Media, Environment, Culture and Tourism study abroad program, the Reporting in the British Isles study abroad program and a freshman seminar abroad on environment and media in Scotland.

As a Fulbright Scholar he co-developed and co-taught the first university-level course on environmental and science journalism. His academic studies have included press coverage of environmental and environmental health issues in the former Soviet Union. Among his books are On the Water, Michigan and Great Lakes, Great National Forests: A Recreational Guide. His other research interests include press systems and journalism practices in the former Soviet Union: international journalism professional standards and education; public affairs reporting; news coverage of human and political rights; and U.S. political history. His latest books are Presidents and Black America: A Documentary History and After the Czars and Commissars: Journalism in Authoritarian Post-Soviet Central Asia. He began his career as an aide to U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel of New York before becoming a reporter for the Knickerbocker News in Albany, N.Y., and then the Detroit News Lansing bureau.

After teaching as an adjunct at the School, he joined the faculty full-time in 1996. He continues to write for a variety of publications on environment, public affairs, legal issues and other topics. Research Interests include environmental journalism and coverage of environmental issues in the former Soviet Union; international press systems; international journalism education; professional journalism practices; and constraints on the media in the former Soviet Union.

Current Courseload
JRN 420 Capital News Service
JRN 472 Environmental Reporting

B.A. in Government, Cornell University
M.S. in Resource Development, Michigan State University
J.D. in Law, New York University

Work 404 Wilson Road, Room 305 382 Communication Arts and Sciences Building Michigan State University East Lansing MI 48824 United States
Work Phone: (517) 355-4729 Work Fax: (517) 355-7710
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