What is EJI?

Each summer, CGEP invites energy and environment journalists from around the world to participate in a seminar to learn about energy and environmental issues from experts in government, industry, and academia. The interactive program seeks to inform journalists understanding of these nuanced issues and enhance their reporting. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 program took place virtually, as will the upcoming 2021 program.

When does it take place (Dates of program/timeline)?

June 14-18, 2021 (with sessions taking place from 12-1:30 p.m. EDT each day).

Where will the program take place?

The program will take place virtually.

What can I expect to learn from EJI?

The program strives to impart specialist knowledge that will help reporters look deeper at the stories they cover in a more holistic, integrated way. While we do not expect participants will emerge as experts in the topics addressed, they should have greater awareness of said topics and how they relate, thus creating the potential for fuller stories in the future.

Please note that this program does not teach basic journalism skills, as that is outside the goals of the program and expertise of the lecturers. The program also does not assign stories to reporters, or participate in any reporting efforts.

Who will teach the initiative?

Energy Journalism Initiative seminars will be taught by Columbia faculty and scholars as well as other academic, private-sector and government experts. The seminar will be conducted under the Chatham House Rule.

What topics are covered in the seminar?

Topics will cover a broad range of economic, policy and technology issues in a survey-course fashion. Focus will be on the relationship between the sectors and the need to examine and understand the energy ecosystem in total to analyze discrete components. Here is an example of the 2020 EJI Agenda.

What format will the sessions take?

The program will strive to ensure that sessions are interactive and participatory. A lecture format will be used sparingly.

How will I stay connected?

Participants will receive regular communication and materials from the Initiative in an on-going fashion

I want more information. Whom do I contact?

For more information, you can contact Torre Lavelle at [email protected].


What are the eligibility criteria for applicants?

The program is open to journalists covering energy and the environment from print, online and broadcast media, although preference will be given to those with 5 years or fewer of experience on the beat. 

I’m currently in school. Can I still apply?

No, this program is specifically designed for currently working journalists.

I live abroad. Can I apply?

Yes. When the program has been in-person, all visa arrangements and costs are borne by the participant. In the virtual setting, this does not apply.

I’m a journalist who doesn’t cover energy or the environment. Can I apply?

If you are a journalist who does not currently cover energy or the environment but will begin to do so in your professional capacity in the near future, you are eligible to apply. You must, however, show that you will be covering energy and environmental topics prior to or upon completion of the program, attesting to this fact in the recommendation letter from your supervisor.  

What is the SELECTIONS process?

A Review Committee will look at the applications of all candidates and, from those who meet all the requirements, make its selections.

Is this a certificate or degree program from Columbia?

No, this is not a certificate or degree program.

Will I be considered a Columbia student?

No, you will not be considered a Columbia student.

Do I need letters of recommendation?

Yes. You must submit one letter of recommendation from your direct supervisor or manager.

Can broadcast journalists apply?

Yes, as long their reporting includes written stories on their news organization's web sites.

Can freelance journalists apply?

Yes, freelance journalists can apply. All other conditions must still be met.


Evaluation Form

Participants in the program will be expected to complete an evaluation form examining the topics and sessions, which will be consulted in improving the program going forward.

Six Month Report

The participants will also be expected to produce a brief report six months after the Initiative that references 2-4 articles they wrote during the intervening period and describes how the program enhanced their coverage and changed their approach to the stories. The report should include as an appendix all the relevant energy stories the reporter has written.

Manager Questionnaire

In addition, the participant’s direct manager will be required to fill out a short, questionnaire at this same six-month period after the seminar to provide an independent assessment of the progress of the reporter, and whether the manager believes that the Initiative contributed to those gains. Managers will be made aware of this requirement when they sign off on the attendance of their reporters.