Four EKU alumni spoke at a recent conference about Reporting on Fracking on Nov. 6 at Berea College. The conference was hosted by the University's student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the EKU Department of Communication and Berea College's Department of English.
Approximately 100 people were in attendance to discuss the process of fracking, how permits are issued, and the pros and cons from both environmentalists and industry leaders.
Alumni speakers were Brandon Nuttall, Kim Collings, Craig Williams and Lisa Bicknell.
Nuttall, a geologist from the Kentucky Geological Survey, hosted an informational session about fracking. Nuttall received a bachelor's in geology from Eastern.
Collings, director of the Kentucky Division of Oil, presented on the permitting and inspection process for fracking wells. Collings received a master's in geology from EKU.
Williams, founding member of Common Ground and the Kentucky Environmental Foundation, as well as charter member of the Kentucky Governor's Chemical Material Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Commission and co-chair of the Kentucky Chemical Destruction Advisory Board, was on a panel with other environmental activists. He spoke about the environmental impacts of fracking in Kentucky. Williams received a bachelor's in philosophy from Eastern, and was also awarded an honorary doctorate of humanities degree from the University.
Bicknell, editor at the Citizen Voice and Times in Irvine, spoke alongside fellow journalists about her experience reporting on the topic from a small-town perspective. Bicknell received a bachelor’s in English and a minor in Appalachian studies from Eastern.
Other speakers included Andrew McNeill, executive director of the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association; Dick Brown, executive director of the Office of Communications and Public Outreach; Alissa Kedrowski, senior PR account executive at Charleston Orwig; Jim Scheff, director of Kentucky Heartwood; Lane Boldman, executive director of the Kentucky Conservation Committee; Marcus Greene, WDRB in Louisville; Erica Peterson of WFPL-Louisville Public Media; and Amanda Womac of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
Hosts included Student Chair KaLeigh Underwood, Dr. Deborah Taylor Givens of the EKU Department of Communication faculty and Dr. Kate Egerton of Berea College.