The Energy Revolution: Self-guided training

by August 22, 2013
Fracked from ProPublica video on fracking

This image is from a music video by ProPublica. Its coverage of fracking is at

This session, “The Energy Revolution: Finding Powerful Stories Everywhere,” was first offered as part of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s annual conference on Aug. 23, 2013.

You keep hearing about “fracking” in western Pennsylvania and North Dakota, but can’t imagine how it would affect your community.

Marilyn Geewax, a senior business editor with NPR, will help you understand how this unleashing of massive supplies of fossil fuels is changing all of our lives. The energy revolution is making U.S. manufacturing competitive again and soon could be generating millions of jobs from Maine to California. And it’s having a broad impact on the environment, tax revenues and politics.


Every American has a stake in these changes; all journalists need to understand the basics – and to look for the local angles. Here’s what this session will help you understand:

1) Fracking – What exactly is it, and why does this drilling process generate so much oil and gas – and controversy? Get familiar with the basic terms of the debate so you feel comfortable setting out to tell a story about it.

2) Manufacturing – Economists say fracking is transforming manufacturing. Huh? Get a clearer understanding of the direct link between the drilling process and the revival of many factories.

3) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs – Many optimists say the energy revolution will help create millions of jobs. Some communities will be building bigger ports to export liquefied natural gas and others will be gaining pipeline-construction jobs. Many may be able to build new infrastructure with revenues from drilling leases. But if cheap energy makes it easier to automate, will some jobs be lost?

4) The Environment – Environmentalists are raising serious questions about water use, pollution, earthquakes, and the overall wisdom of increasing the use of fossil fuels like oil and gas. What’s at stake?

5) The Local Angle –The energy revolution is generating changes all around us – and you, as a journalist, will see the local angles once you know how to spot changes in your own community.

Marilyn Geewax

Marilyn Geewax


Marilyn Geewax is a senior business editor on NPR’s national desk and its national economics correspondent. She was the national economics correspondent for Cox Newspapers’ Washington Bureau. Before coming to Washington in 1999, she worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, first as a business reporter and then as a columnist and editorial board member.

From 2001 to 2006, she taught a business journalism class as an adjunct professor at George Washington University.


Review the workshop materials below and find new ways to power your energy reporting.

PowerPoint presentations