Staying on Top of Evolving Environmental News

Circle of Blue editorial intern Lydia Belanger sums up her first week of the summer she plans to spend with us.

rio+20 united nations UN Conference on Sustainable Development

I’m finishing up my first week with Circle of Blue, and it’s been a rewarding experience so far. I’ve just completed my sophomore year at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, and I was lucky enough to find a great internship at Circle of Blue right in my hometown of Traverse City, Michigan.

Studying at Northwestern, I learned that Circle of Blue has ties with Medill, through alumni connections and as a site for the school’s undergraduate Journalism Residency program. I intern along with another Medill student and Traverse City-native, Aubrey Blanche, who’s spending the summer here completing her JR residency. (And, as Aubrey stated in her post last week, Circle of Blue has quite the Medill alum family: check out her post for more details.) Three talented design and data interns also work in the office, and several volunteers, editors, and reporters produce amazing, groundbreaking work here and across the globe. I’m thrilled to be collaborating with the Circle of Blue network.

From the moment I arrived at Circle of Blue, I’ve been working on a project that will continue through next week chronicling the Rio+20 Earth Summit (the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development), events and discussions for which are happening now through June 22. On Monday morning, I knew little about Rio+20, but I’ve spent hours reading PDF reports, Twitter lists, and news articles, trying to develop a comprehensive understanding of the goals, influential organizations, and talking points.

As a journalist, I always strive to be ahead of the major stories of the day, because there’s always something new going on — and someone new to comment on it. Following Rio+20 and its related associated events, blogs, and hashtags has been a welcome challenge for me. Throughout the summer, I’ll continue to hone my news judgment skills and report on environmental issues in integrated, innovative ways. I look forward to refining my interests as I work on new projects through the end of August.

I’d like to add that living on the shores of Lake Michigan my entire life, I’ve developed an appreciation for the rare beauty and value of the Great Lakes. At Circle of Blue, I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to educate others — and myself — about the importance of preserving the world’s natural resources.

Interested in reporting and writing? Want to know what it’s like to intern with Circle of Blue? Email me at or comment below.

Lydia Belanger
Circle of Blue editorial intern

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