Spotlight on Metcalf Alum
Steve Krueger – 2003 Fellow
Steve Krueger considers himself a pioneer of sorts. He was the first full-time environmental reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in British Columbia, paving the way for future journalists. Later, at KPLU, an NPR affiliate in Seattle, Washington, where he covered similar stories, he realized how important it was to have a good understanding of the science behind the environmental issues he covered.
“It was important to have the ability to analyze the arguments on both sides of the issues,” said Krueger. “Unless I had the knowledge to conduct an intelligent interview, ask the right questions, and challenge [scientists] on their findings, I couldn’t be sure the information I was getting was accurate. I needed help.”
Krueger describes the Metcalf Institute Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists he attended in 2003 as “the single best training opportunity of my entire career.” He says the Metcalf workshop not only helped him interpret scientific data, but it also enhanced his ability to communicate with researchers in a way that informed his reporting throughout his career. He says the training also gave him a distinct advantage over the competition.
“Scientists would duck out on interviews with other reporters because they were not comfortable talking to them,” said Krueger. “Those same researchers would return my phone calls and would talk to me because my science training helped me to gain their trust. I also knew how to ask them to explain their research in terms that my audience could understand.”
“If people are confused about a story, they move on to the next story,” Krueger added. “Our job is to tell the public how the person did their research in a way that helps the public make informed decisions.”
Krueger, whose journalism career has spanned 44 years, has retired from reporting and is now writing mystery novels. His first book, Manifest Destiny: Fire on the Water by Abbott Press, is a military thriller that focuses on a desperate battle to save the Canada after the United States invades to seize control of the Alberta oil sands. He says his next novel will have more of an environmental slant–a mystery focusing on climate change and the melting Arctic ice.