Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Society of Environmental Journalists

  • Jenkintown, PA
  • http://www.sej.org

Mission Statement

The mission of the Society of Environmental Journalists is to strengthen the quality, reach and viability of journalism across all media platforms to advance public understanding of environmental issues.

SEJ's vision: Credible and robust journalism that informs and engages society on environmental issues

SEJ's theory of change focuses on three elements:
1) Networked, better- educated journalists will do more and
better journalism, 2) Credible environmental journalism fosters environmental
literacy and motivates communities to overcome persistent myths and fight
disinformation, and 3) In this era of linked journalism and social media, higher
quality and more frequent reporting of environmental news and information will
make an important positive difference with knowledge and behaviors in
communities well beyond those of the work's original audience.

Main Programs

  1. Fund for Environmental Journalism, and SEJ Awards
  2. Reporting Tools, Mentoring, Communication Platforms and Media Training
  3. Freedom of Information Watchdog Project
  4. Publications, Comprehensive Web Site, TipSheets, Daily News Digest
  5. Annual Conference, Climate Communication for Journalists and Scientists

service areas


Self-reported by organization

ruling year


chief executive

Ms. Beth A. Parke

Self-reported by organization


education, environment, journalism, media, news

Self-reported by organization

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Also Known As



Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Professional Societies & Associations (C03)

Media, Communications Organizations (A30)

Professional Societies, Associations (W03)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

All SEJ activities are designed to advance the following long-term outcomes:

* A strong, vigorous free press that can be relied upon to inform all communities on issues of environmental sustainability;

* A permanent change in the culture of journalism whereby there is frequent news reporting on environment-related issues that can be correctly characterized as high quality,highly accurate and highly visible to all relevant communities;

* An informed society in which individuals, families, communities and political leaders make choices based on a healthy understanding of environmental issues.


What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

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Program 1

Fund for Environmental Journalism, and SEJ Awards

The Fund for Environmental Journalism distributes mini-grants through two annual cycles of a competitive process to help underwrite travel costs and other direct expenses of specific reporting projects. 
SEJ Awards recognizes excellence in environmental reporting in print, broadcast and online media, in order to build the stature and visibility of the beat, and bring great work to the attention of new audiences and media gatekeepers.





Population Served

Program 2

Reporting Tools, Mentoring, Communication Platforms and Media Training

SEJ provides training and
mentoring for environmental journalists via various methods and platforms,
including timely publications to help journalists cover emerging issues; fresh
Web content, tipsheets, source leads and specialized resource links; mentoring
and professional sharing through robust members-only listservs and public social media; diversity,
mentoring and freelance task forces; and media and technology training





Population Served


Program 3

Freedom of Information Watchdog Project

The Freedom of Information WatchDog Project provides regular original reporting on environment-related FOI issues through 26 annual issues of the FOI WatchDog Edition TipSheet. In addition, through its FOI taskforce, SEJ engages in regular dialogue with other media organizations and government agencies to foster access to information.


Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy



Population Served

Program 4

Publications, Comprehensive Web Site, TipSheets, Daily News Digest

SEJ publishes specialized content tailored to the needs of journalists on a wide range of under-reported and emerging issues. Publications include TipSheet; Freedom of Information WatchDog TipSheet; EJToday, a daily environmental news digest; and SEJournal.  Most content is available free to the international public via www.sej.org.





Population Served

Program 5

Annual Conference, Climate Communication for Journalists and Scientists

Each year since 1991 SEJ
has worked with a major research university in a different region of the
country, in a partnership to make world-class learning resources available to
journalists who cover complex environmental issues. Registrants participate in a comprehensive agenda of workshops, full-day reporting tours, concurrent panel
and plenary sessions, news briefings, exhibits and special events. SEJ
conferences consistently draw 350 to 425 journalists, students and educators
and an equal number of scientists, researchers, government officials,
environmental leaders, representatives of businesses and industries,
philanthropists, and others concerned with media coverage of environmental
issues. Agenda planners tap experts and key players
throughout the region, from top researchers with the host university to far-flung
high-level speakers on key national and global issues of the year.   A pilot program of regional events on climate communication for journalists and scientists is being organized by SEJ in 2012 under the Climate Change Education Partnership program of the National Science Foundation.





Population Served

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

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  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Through a 2012 grant-funded effectiveness project SEJ came to define its strategic position as the ultimate resource for journalists who cover environment-related issues and change agent for more and better environmental coverage. SEJ affirmed the purpose of all programs and services is to:

    • build a stronger, better-educated, and more closely connected network of journalists who are reporting on environment-related issues; and
    • improve and increase news coverage of critically important environmental issues across all media platforms, to inform an engage all communities.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    SEJ must build and maintain its membership.
    SEJ must provide opportunities for member-to-member engagement and communication on topics of professional interest.
    SEJ must provide members and other journalists with opportunities for cutting-edge learning and career development on environmental topics and best practices in journalism.
    SEJ must cultivate relationships that help enhance the quality, credibility, reach and viability of environmental journalism and that help build the organization.
    SEJ must generate and maintain the financial and organizational resources to achieve its mission and objectives in both the short and long term.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Please see SEJ's 2013 Annual Report of Activities to understand how programs and collaborative efforts - that connect and educate journalists, and advocate for transparency - address the stated goals of the organization.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    SEJ circulated multiple surveys to members this year. Results were applied to budget decisions and strategic planning for what we've been calling SEJ 3.0. We gathered information to document the impact of members' journalism in their own communities, and by association, the impact of SEJ's work as an organization deemed critically important to those journalists.
    More than 1,000 professional journalists are engaged in SEJ. Their work is published or broadcast on a routine basis through more than 1,000 media outlets (freelancers have multiple clients). We extrapolate that tens of thousands of news items in print, online and broadcast media were informed or generated during this grant period through SEJ events, publications and programs. Hundreds of thousands of people read, saw or heard these reports on energy issues, climate change, sustainable agriculture, water quality issues, environment and economy, and more through print, broadcast and online news media.
    SEJ members told us of specific instances when their work had observable impact in communities they serve. For example, in Louisville, the governing body of the water management agency was completely revamped after close reporting on failures and concerns (Courier-Journal). Members with InsideClimateNews drew national attention to a domestic oil spill through Pulitzer Prize winning coverage. Online coverage of toxic additives to sports drinks spurred a teenager to mount protest campaign that led the company to change its formula (Environmental Health News).

    The SEJ board continues to monitor basic organizational health through participation measures such as:
    • Membership roster, number and qualifications/caliber of members, continued high caliber
    • Conference attendance
    • SEJ Web site traffic, social network traffic reflecting the SEJ community, readership of print and emailed SEJ publications
    • Contest entries (SEJ's and others)
    • Logged phone calls and incoming email that demonstrate that SEJ continues to be viewed as a crucial go-to group for a wide array of journalists, stakeholders, policymakers and the broader community of individuals and institutions concerned with news reporting on environment-related issues
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    Not available.

service areas


Self-reported by organization

Social Media





Funding Needs

SEJ is independent and nonpartisan. Grants of general support are especially important to the identity of this organization as a self-governing membership group for news professionals. The biggest funding deficit in our 2012 programming budget is in our publications and reporting tools, which are designed to improve coverage of climate change, energy sources, water quality, food systems and other sustainability issues. These publications are tailored to the needs of working journalists, providing fresh, timely content through SEJ.org, EJToday (annotated daily news digest), TipSheet and SEJournal; and they include special reporting toolboxes in response to breaking news, especially environmental disasters.


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Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.


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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Society of Environmental Journalists



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.


Ms. Beth A. Parke


"SEJ has become the go-to group for many constituencies concerned with media
and the environment. Each year, SEJ's conferences attract the participation of close to
800 journalists, students and educators as well as hundreds of scientists, government officials,
business representatives, environmental leaders, philanthropists, news sources, expert speakers
and others concerned with media and environment. Through annual environmental-reporting awards
SEJ has recognized the best in environmental journalism and since 2010 has distributed nearly $80,000
in mini-grants to journalists for reporting projects. SEJ's FOI WatchDog project successfully draws attention
to access and open-government issues and provides journalists with new resources for working with
scientific data. Thousands of print, broadcast and online news reports are generated or informed by SEJ
programs, publications and peer network. Despite drastic changes in the world of professional journalism,
SEJ membership has remained stable at approximately 1,300 at the close of 2013."



Mr. Jeffrey Burnside

KOMO-TV, Seattle


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