Covering Water Quality: What You Need to Know

Course Overview

Covering Water Quality: What You Need to Know
Self-Directed Course
This $29.95 course is free thanks to the support of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Time Estimate:
This course takes about two hours to complete.

About Self-Directed Courses

In a self-directed course, you can start and stop whenever you like, progressing entirely at your own pace and going back as many times as you want to review the material.

Anything that puts our drinking water supply at risk has huge news potential – because without clean drinking water, none of us would last very long.

In the United States, we generally take drinking water for granted until something goes wrong -- and plenty of things can go wrong: drought, pollution, microbial contamination, malfunctioning treatment plants, sewer overflows, minerals leaching from household pipes, and more.

Drinking water may be one of the most important health, security, and environmental topics you'll ever cover and understanding the complex issues of covering water quality is essential to successful journalism.

This self-guided course gives you background knowledge about the topic and ways of thinking about coverage issues. This course will also help you locate the best sources and resources, ask the right questions, quickly reality-check quotes and other information provided by sources and prevent common reporting errors. Through hands-on exercises, you'll gather important background information specific to your region. This will give you a head start on future drinking water stories.

What Will I Learn:

Locate the best sources and resources on water quality for your coverage area

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Ask the right people the right questions.

  • Quickly reality-check quotes and other information provided by official sources.

  • Prevent common water quality reporting errors.

Who should take this course:

This course is for any journalist – TV, radio, print or online – who needs to take an important issue that affects everyone and put it into meaningful context. It is also for anyone who has ever taken a drink of water and has wondered how its purity is being safeguarded.

Course Instructor:

Amy Gahran

Amy Gahran is a media consultant and contributor to the Society of Environmental Journalists' TipSheet.

Training Partner:

Society of Environmental Journalists

The Society of Environmental Journalists provides critical support to journalists of all media in their efforts to cover complex issues of the environment responsibly.

Technical Requirements:

For this course you will need to have at least version 7.0 of the Flash plugin installed. For the best experience, we suggest that:

  • PC users use Internet Explorer or Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox.

  • Mac users use Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox or Safari.

  • You set your monitor resolution to 1024 x 768 or higher you use a high speed connection.