In the News: For Earth Day, Star Tribune Asks St. Thomas Journalism Students to Reflect on Their Own Lived Experiences

Mark Neuzil, journalism professor at the University of St. Thomas College of Arts and Sciences, recently spoke with the Star Tribune for a story about St. Thomas students’ outdoor experiences, the intersection of nature and technology, and their hopes and fears with regards to climate change.

From the article:

When a class of environmental journalism students was asked to turn its storytelling on itself, at least one theme emerged: Young people feel an authentic connection with the outdoors, while the pace of society and digital technology’s influence can build barriers to that connectedness.

In the spirit of Earth Day on Saturday, we wanted these University of St. Thomas students to define valuable time outdoors; to address the role of media and if it accurately reflected their outdoor lives; and to put words to their hopes and fears in wake of climate change.

Mark Neuzil, their professor and the school’s chair of the Department of Emerging Media, acknowledged he gets students with a heightened awareness of outdoors topics but said the influence of social media and its use in their lives surprised even him.

“Of course, I knew it would be hard for them to get away from social media, but it still is a little jarring when seeing it written down,” he said. “Their experiences are more and more filtered through media.”

Students in Mark Neuzil’s Environmental Journalism class participate in editorial photos for a feature story about Earth Day for the Star Tribune at Shadow Falls Park in St. Paul on April 18, 2023.