MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ― Administrators of the Middlebury College Fellowships in Environmental Journalism recently announced 10 fellowship recipients for 2010. The program, in its fourth year, is designed to support intensive, year-long reporting about environmental issues by journalists at the start of their careers. According to Scholar-in-Residence in Environmental Studies and Program Director Bill McKibben, “The pool this year had even more amazing applicants than we’ve gotten used to seeing. It’s literally painful for the committee that has to choose the winners.”

“It demonstrates that even as newspapers fold, young journalists are figuring out new and compelling ways to tell stories,” said McKibben, author of “Eaarth” (2010) and “The End of Nature” (1989). “We were fascinated both by the wide range of topics, and the wide range of media that people are working in.” 

Each fellow receives $10,000 toward reporting expenses. In addition to the working journalists, current Middlebury students may also receive fellowships and a stipend of $4,000 based on a story they propose and the quality of their writing samples. 

The fellows meet at Middlebury College in the fall and at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, in California, in the spring. At each site, they participate in a group workshop and edit their stories with McKibben, Associate Director Christopher Shaw and a visiting reporter. The visiting reporters will be Jennifer Sahn, editor of Orion magazine, for the fall session, and David Abram, author of the “Spell of the Sensuous” (1997) for the spring session.

“This year’s projects cover many of the most contentious issues the world faces,” said Shaw. “In the wake of the BP spill, there’s a new focus on unreported and unrecognized environmental dangers — clearly it’s back at the top of the agenda.”

Past stories reported and written during previous fellowship years have appeared in Mother Jones, Virginia Quarterly Review, Grist and Gourmet, and have been aired on National Public Radio. 

This year’s selected fellows and their topics are:

• Kathryn Flagg of Shoreham, Vt., Middlebury Class of 2008, “Weather modification, or cloud seeding, in the West”

• Aylie Baker of Yarmouth, Maine, Middlebury Class of 2009, “Effects of the recent Chilean tsunami on Robinson Crusoe’s Juan Fernandez islands”

• Bart DiFiore of Gloucester, Mass., “The blue fin tuna migration from the Gulf of Mexico to Europe and the failure of existing conservation measures”

• Lucy Flood of Victor, Idaho, “Old-time religion and mountaintop removal”

• Andy Kroll of Washington, D.C., “‘Green’ Walmart”

• Emanuele Bompan of Saronno, Italy, “Organized crime and toxic waste”

• Vanessa Gregory of Oxford, Miss., “The ‘new fire’ at Montana’s urban-forest interface”

• Adam Federman of New York, N.Y., “‘Hydrofracking’ and the Marcellus Shale deposits”

• Wes Enzinna of Oakland, Calif., “Lives of displaced residents of a post-mining toxic-waste ghost town in Kansas”

The Middlebury College senior receiving a fellowship this year is Sarah Harris, reporting on the pressures of cement production in Midlothian, Texas.

Fellows in the program were selected based on letters outlining their projects. “We were looking for issues big enough to stretch people, to make them more able journalists,” said Shaw. “The $10,000 stipend won’t be enough, obviously, to support someone for a year, but it should give them the time and resources for a powerful project.”

For more information about the Fellowships in Environmental Journalism, visit http://www.middlebury.edu/administration/enviro/fellowship/.