Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Egan’s “A Watershed Moment: Great Lakes at a Crossroads” seeks to inform readers about the enormous environmental destruction caused by invasive species entering the seven magnificent lakes and all inland waters from around the globe.
Egan, a Pulitzer Prize-finalist who has reported on the Great Lakes for the news organization for several years, worked with Marquette students while spending the 2013-2014 academic year at the university as part of the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism.
“Watershed Moment” began Sunday with a story about how zebra mussels and quagga mussels have turned the lakes’ ecosystem upside down. Today’s installment examines how both types of mussels got here in ships’ ballast tanks and considers whether future such invasions can be stopped. Tomorrow, the series explores how Isle Royale National Park ordered its ferry to disinfect water in ballast tanks. The finale on Wednesday will delve into how invasive species have spread from the lakes to across America.
Lori Bergen, dean of the College of Communication, thanked Egan and the Journal Sentinel for enabling the students to do viable reporting as part of his fellowship. One student, Erin Caughey, not only assisted him with research throughout her senior year – but also worked on the project and other digital journalism efforts in the Journal Sentinel newsroom as an O’Brien Fellowship summer intern. In addition to shooting video and taking photos, Caughey contributed an interactive timeline and served as online producer.
“Our students have gained invaluable experience by working with an experienced reporter to produce journalism that will affect Milwaukee and beyond,” Bergen said. “Dan’s series is another example of experiential learning. We are thrilled that it is part of the O’Brien Fellowship.”
Read more on Egan's work and how being a 2013-2014 O'Brien fellow helped to ensure he could get it done.