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Mark Schleifstein to Give 26th Annual Hill Lecture

Mark Schleifstein credit NOLA.comMark Schleifstein, winner of 3 Pulitzer prizes and more than a dozen other national awards for hurricane and environment reporting, will talk about “Covering the environment as the media transforms around you” when he delivers the 26th annual Alfred and Julia Hill Lecture at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the College of Nursing Auditorium, 1200 Volunteer Boulevard.

Schleifstein (pronounced “schlef-steen”) has been an environment reporter in New Orleans for NOLA.com/The Times Picayune for 34 years and is the leader of its Louisiana Coastal Reporting Team.  He and coauthor John McQuaid received their first Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for their series “Oceans of trouble: Are the world’s fisheries doomed?  In 2002, he and McQuaid wrote the series “Washing Away in which they warned that the levees in New Orleans were dangerously inadequate—three years before Hurricane Katrina.  In 2006, soon after Hurricane Katrina, Schleifstein and his colleagues at The Times Picayune received two Pulitzer Prizes—one for breaking news, the other for public service—for their coverage of the hurricane.

Schleifstein and McQuaid are also the authors of the book Path of Destruction: The Devastation of New Orleans and the Coming Age of Superstorms (Little, Brown, 2006).

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Schleifstein says, “journalism’s most valuable role is to represent the public by asking hard questions of public officials, scientists, and businessmen in a dedicated search for answers.  That role is made more difficult as reporters and editors struggle to learn how to use new tools to present the news and as the media industry repeatedly downsizes newsrooms as it tries to figure out how to pay for modern journalism.”

The Hill Lecture brings distinguished science journalists to campus to share their thoughts on science, society, and the mass media. The lecture series is made possible by an endowment created by Tom Hill and Mary Frances Hill Holton in honor of their parents, Alfred and Julia Hill, founders of The Oak Ridger.  The Hill family’s endowment of the lecture series was a gift to the UT School of Journalism & Electronic Media in the College of Communication & Information.

The College of Nursing Auditorium, site of this year’s Hill Lecture, is accessible without stairs from Volunteer Boulevard.  Free parking is available on the street and in nearby lots.  Refreshments will be served before and after the lecture.