Bay Journal

Karl Blankenship is editor of the Bay Journal and executive director of Bay Journal Media. He has served as editor of the Bay Journal since its inception in 1991. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Bay Journal at 25: We’re just getting started

A growing staff, new products, even a film - all focused on telling the Chesapeake Bay's story

  • March 23, 2016
Founder and Editor Karl Blankenship (Dave Harp)Copy/design editor Kathleen Gaskell (Dave Harp)

A quarter century ago this month, the first issue of the Bay Journal showed up in the mailboxes of readers across the watershed.

That issue was a whopping 12 pages, (most of the early issues were eight), with a cover story about an upcoming review of the 1987 Bay Agreement goal to reduce nutrient pollution by 40 percent. Other articles covered a report saying that reducing nutrient pollution was becoming more difficult than thought; the Bay Program’s first “toxics of concern” list; a report calling for efforts to reduce pollution from recreational boats; a program to tag loggerhead turtles; and more.

Some things don’t seem to change: This year, we expect a fair amount of coverage about another Bay Program’s nutrient goal review — this time it is the midpoint assessment of the 2010 Total Maximum Daily Load and efforts to meet it.

And certainly,  reducing nutrient pollution hasn’t become easier than it was in 1991.

But, of course, much has changed around the Bay since then. Striped bass, which were at low ebb, have rebounded. Wastewater treatment plants, which then seemed too expensive to upgrade, have become leaders in nutrient reduction efforts. And terms like “low impact development” have become part of regular conversations.

Our coverage of the region’s issues has also grown much richer, with issues averaging 40–48 pages, providing more news — and insight behind the news — than ever before.

Our staff has increased from one to five full-time and three-part time people, as well as several regular contributors.

That includes two recent staff hires:

  • Tim Wheeler, who spent more than three decades at the Baltimore Sun and Evening Sun primarily reporting on environmental issues including the Chesapeake Bay. He has won numerous awards for his work and is also the past president of the Society of Environmental Journalists. Before joining the Sun, he worked for a regional news service in Washington, DC, and newspapers in Norfolk and Richmond, VA.
  • Jeff Day, who has spent more than three decades with the Bloomburg BNA News Service, most recently as its mid-Atlantic correspondent covering the Chesapeake as well as environmental and other issues in Virginia and Maryland. Besides his background in print journalism, Day has experience with video documentaries and in 1986 won a CINE Golden Eagle award for a film about drug testing in the workplace. Before joining BNA, he worked as managing editor of a paper in Northern Virginia.

And watch this space — we expect more announcements in the coming months.

Throughout our 25th anniversary year, we will be reflecting back on what we’ve accomplished over the years, and how we have changed.

Not only has the Bay Journal grown, but we’ve added new products that include Bay Journeys, our Bay Journal News Service syndication network, and a radio presence.

This month, our first film, Beautiful Swimmers Revisited, will premiere at the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital.

At the same time, we will be talking more about where we are going in the future. During the past year, we’ve been reviewing our operations and are developing a new strategic plan that we will be rolling out. Our plan will outline how we expect to greatly increase the number of people we reach and new products we are considering.

It seems like it’s been a long time since that first issue rolled off the press, but in many ways, it seems like we are just getting started.

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About Karl Blankenship

Karl Blankenship is editor of the Bay Journal and executive director of Bay Journal Media. He has served as editor of the Bay Journal since its inception in 1991. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Read more articles by Karl Blankenship

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Marian Perry on March 29, 2016:

Great job navigating us through murky Bay waters into a watershed of environmental clarity. Kudos!


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