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Press Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Contact: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Phone: 337-266-8655
Fax: 337-266-8541
For Release: April 15, 1998

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist To Speak at Annual Science and the Media Seminar

James O'Byrne, project editor of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize winning series "Oceans of Trouble," will speak at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center on April 20 at 2 p.m. O'Byrne will discuss "Worlds Apart: Bridging the Gulf Between Science and Journalism" during the Center's second annual Science and the Media Seminar.

The seminar, according to Center Director Robert E. Stewart, Jr., is designed to encourage scientists to communicate better with the public. He said, "Scientists traditionally have communicated the results of their works in scientific journals, mostly read by other members of the scientific community. We need to do a better job, however, of explaining to the public what the environmental issues are and what unbiased scientific studies say about these issues.

"Clear and factual scientific information is crucial so that the public and policy makers can make informed decisions about natural resources. Without science, decisions may be made on political whim. I encourage all journalists, scientists, and students in the area to participate in this dialogue," Stewart added.

O'Byrne's work has received several distinguished national journalism awards, including the Scripps Howard Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting, the Gerald R. Loeb Award for Distinguished Business Reporting and the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Journalism. His 1991 series documenting Louisiana's extensive environmental problems was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and he was a project editor on the 1996 series, "Oceans of Trouble," which won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Public Service.

O'Byrne is the Sunday editor for The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans. During his 18-year career with the newspaper, O'Byrne has also served as special projects editor in charge of the newspaper's investigative projects, and he has written extensively on issues ranging from the environment to the gambling industry, race relations and political corruption.

For more information about the seminar, call 337-266-8550.

As the nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the conservation and the sound economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources and to enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy and mineral resources.

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