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Minnesota Journalism Center Update

The Minnesota Journalism Center's outreach efforts took on some new dimensions this year, with programming for business journalists food writers, and the Korean Press Foundation.

Ben BernankeIn October, the Minnesota Journalism Center's sixth annual "Supply, Demand, and Deadlines" conference returned to Washington D.C., the site of the first SDD event. The conference, a joint venture between the MJC and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, brought together top-level economics and business journalists to discuss hot issues affecting their beat and to hear comments by keynote speaker Ben Bernanke, the recently-appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Attendees participated in sessions focused on the economics of immigration policy, trade policy, and fiscal policy. Session leaders included Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapoli.; Varadarajan V. Chari, an economics professor at the University of Minnesota; David Card, an economist from the University of California at Berkeley; Matthew J. Slaughter of the President's Council of Economic Advisors; and author and editor David Warsh, formerly of the Boston Globe.

mjc attendeesAttendees also took advantage of the open discussions with presenters following responses from a panel of participating journalists. The discussions included an opportunity for journalists to discuss with the economists the challenges of writing stories about complex economics issues that people will read. It was also a unique opportunity to hear candid comments from Fed Chair Bernanke in an off-the-record session

"Supply, Demand, and Deadlines" will return to in Minneapolis in the summer of 2007. Visit www.mjc.umn.edu for more information.

ecosystemThe Minnesota Journalism Center partnered for the first time this past summer with the University of Minnesota's Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Initiative to host a workshop for journalists focusing on how to better inform the public of the sustainability challenges that lay before us. The conference, entitled, "Feeding Ourselves in the Future: A Journalist's Workshop on the Science and Policy of Food," was held June 4-6, 2006 on the University of Minnesota campus. The eighteen attendees, all food journalists, came from locations across Minnesota and from Wisconsin, Iowa, California, Missouri, and Illinois to attend the conference.

The participants attended sessions focusing on such topics as the science of alternative production practices, eating for health, and a food policy panel. In addition, journalists participated in facilitated story pitching with Chris Worthington, former Pioneer Press managing editor.

The highlight of the conference was a trip to New Prague, Minn., where participants learned about the business side of the Cedar Summit Farm, an organic dairy run by the Minar family. Following the tour of the dairy, the group continued on to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, where they were treated to a presentation and a meal by local chefs and restaurateurs Alex Roberts of Restaurant Alma and Lucia Watson of Lucia's Restaurant. Both restaurants emphasize the use of local foods and base their menus on available produce from area farms.

The Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Initiative will partner with the Minnesota Journalism Center again in the summer of 2007 for another workshop, this time focusing on water and sustainability issues. The workshops are made possible through a grant from the Bush Foundation. For more information on the workshops, please visit www.mjc.umn.edu or www.sustainability.umn.edu.

Korean journalists for conference on health care reporting

The Minnesota Journalism Center partnered with the Korean Press Foundation to bring twelve journalists from South Korea to the University of Minnesota campus September 12-16, 2006 for a workshop examining best practices for covering health and medical topics in the press.

SJMC facultyThe sessions for the journalists were led by a number of SJMC faculty, including Gary Schwitzer, Jisu Huh, and Leyla Kokman. The workshop also included a panel of local journalists presenting case studies of stories covering health-related issues. The panel included Lorna Benson of Minnesota Public Radio, Jeremy Olson of the Pioneer Press, Rick Kupchella of KARE-TV, and Maura Lerner of the Star Tribune.

In addition to classroom sessions, the journalists visited the University of Minnesota's Academic Health Center to observe and interact with several medical researchers and professionals.