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PERC Media Fellows

An introduction to PERC's Media Fellows.

John Koppisch
Senior Editor, Forbes Magazine

At Forbes , John Koppisch works as the deputy Asian editor, developing and editing stories on Asian companies and business leaders while overseeing seven reporters and 15 free-lancers based in the region. He also has  worked as an editor at BusinessWeek and the Wall Street Journal’s Hong Kong bureau where he became the Markets and Finance Bureau Chief for Asia. Earlier in his career, he spent five years in Johannesburg as an editor with the Financial Mail. Email: John Koppisch

John spent his week at PERC learning more about marked-oriented ways to solve environmental problems and familiarizing himself with some of Montana’s Indian reservations and the negative impact on economic progress that can be attributed to the lack of property rights. Following his visit to Montana, John wrote “Why are Indians so poor?” for Forbes magazine.

PERC Seminar: The expansion of Forbes magazine to the Internet and the changes required to attract an online audience.

Kristina Kendall
Executive Producer, STOSSEL Fox Business News and Stossel Documentaries, Fox News Channel

Kristina Kendall is the executive producer for the weekly show STOSSEL and five magazine style documentaries per year on the Fox network. She also oversees Stossel online media and coordinates “Stossel in the Classroom” products. Previously, she was a project producer for John Stossel Specials at ABC News 20/20.
Email: Kristina Kendall

Kristina came to PERC to research a documentary on the unintended consequences of the the “green movement,” including both politicians and activists. Among other topics, she looked into subsidies for green energy and the costs of enforcing the Endangered Species Act. With a week of free time, she was able to identify some TV-friendly stories to better illustrate some of the unexpected consequences.

PERC Seminar: Kristina talked about television broadcasting and the constant need for new story ideas and new faces. She suggested that non-profits such as PERC could take their message to larger audiences by focusing more of their outreach efforts on television programming.

Brendan Borrell
Freelance Journalist

Brendan Borrell is a freelance journalist, who has written for Archaeology, Audubon, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Discover, Los Angeles Times, Nature Reuters, Scientific American, Slate, Smithsonian, and the Washington Post. He has been a correspondent for The Scientist and a reporter for The Oregonian. He received his Ph.d in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley and has written a dozen scientific papers. During the past five years he has been the recipient of five journalism fellowships and awards. Email: Brendan Borrell

In coming to PERC, Brendan was interested in learning more about the practical challenges of transitioning from historical schemes for managing natural resources to market-based schemes. For Bloomberg, he wrote an article titled Free-ranging market would save wolves, ranchers.”

PERC Seminar: Based on his personal experience, making the transition from scientist to journalist, Brendan provided a lesson for PERC staff on how newcomers can get from their laptops to publication.

Andrew Wilson
Freelance writer

Freelance writer Andrew Wilson is a regular contributor to the American SpectatorWeekly Standard, and Wall Street Journal. Previously, he worked for BusinessWeek magazine as the Bureau Chief in Dallas and then London. At Mideast Markets he was a senior editor based in Beirut and Bahrain covering the financial and economic news in more than 20 Middle Eastern countries.
Email: Andrew Wilson

Andy was interested in right-based fisheries management and found abundant information at PERC and new contacts for future stories. Value-based water management was another topic Andy researched. PERC researchers, who were just completing a book on water markets and new water management strategies,  helped supply material for Andy’s articles  “Pricing  Las Vegas water” published in  the Salt Lake Tribune and “A market-ready solution for Las Vegas water” in PERC Reports.

PERC Seminar: Big business and government have a mutually dependent relationship that discourages innovation and  entrepreneurial ventures.

Allen Best
Freelance writer

Allen Best has spent his journalism career in the Rocky Mountain West, covering stories on the environment, land management, urban development, climate change, and tourism. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Denver Post,  High Country News, and at least 40 other newspapers and magazines. He has won three awards from the Associated Press for his environmental reporting. Email: Allen Best

In coming to PERC, Allen was interested in sorting out energy subsidies for green energy, but also following the long history of subsidies for oil, natural gas, and coal. While many insinuations are being made by both sides, he wanted to follow the trail and determine what role government subsidies have played in energy development over time.

Edwin Dobb
Journalist, Author, Editor, Producer

Edwin Dobb is a former senior editor and acting editor in chief of the Sciences, the recipient of numerous National Magazine Awards, and a contributing editor with Harper’s magazine. He has written for Discover, Audubon, Mother Jones, and the New York Times Magazine, among other national publications. After many years in New York, he returned to his native Butte, Montana, where he is a freelance writer, book author, and co-producer of the feature-length film “Butte America.” He also has been a lecturer at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Email: Ed Dobb

Ed spent his week at PERC, researching property rights approaches to surface water issues, such as mechanisms for purchasing in-stream flow and the establishment of water trusts. He focused on collaborative efforts in Montana between property rights advocates and groups like Trout Unlimited. He had the opportunity to meet with ranchers, farmers, and other landowners who are leasing their water for in-stream flow and several conservation groups who are putting these deals together.

Wycliffe Muga
Commentator for BBC World News and Correspondent for African Business

Wycliffe Muga from Mombasa, Kenya, is the BBC World Service correspondent for “Letter from Africa.” He continued to broadcast for the BBC while a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, calling the program “Letter from the United States.” Muga has been columnist for Kenya’s Nairobi Star, Daily Nation, Coast Express, and Standard newspapers. He currently writes for African Business among other publications. In 2005, he won the Peter Jenkins Award for Conservation Journalism in East Africa and has been recognized by the Financial Times as the most influential newspaper columnist in Kenya. Email: Wycliffe Muga

PERC Seminar: Muga addressed the issues of land, the environment, and property rights, which he says, “lay behind the spiral of violence which engulfed Kenya in 2007 following the disputed presidential elections.”

Kimberley Strassel
Editorial board member for the Wall Street Jouranl based in Washington D.C.

Kimberley Strassel is a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, based in Washington, D.C. Since 2007, she has written the “Potomac Watch” column which appears in the Journal every Friday, and she is a regular commentator on television talk shows. Previously, she spent four years in London covering technology for the Wall Street Journal Europe. While at PERC, she was the guest speaker at the annual “Evening with PERC.” Her presentation, “How Much Change Can We Afford,” offered a wide-ranging evaluation of the Obama administration’s policies including finance, health care, and the environment. Email: Kimberley Strassel

Strassel’s presentation, “How Much Change Can We Afford,” can be viewed online at the PERC website.

Andrew Cline
Editorial page editor, Union Leader, Manchester, NH

Andrew Cline is the editorial page editor of the Union Leader in Manchester, New Hampshire, the state’s largest newspaper. At PERC, he devoted his time to researching historic districts—their origination, designation, and future. Historic districts can include buildings with no historic value, but all property owners must conform to rules set by a board that is appointed, not elected. In New England, historic districts are common and more are being proposed. In addition to his research, Cline set aside time to meet with PERC researchers and staff to learn how free market environmentalism can create and maintain healthy fisheries as well as improve services and conserve natural resources in a fiscally prudent manner at both national and state parks. Email: Andrew Cline

“I gained a much deeper understanding of the subject I chose to research, and I also learned valuable information from other fellows about water markets and forestry that I can use when covering issues back home. PERC was invaluable. I never would have had the time to do research, nor the excellent feedback to help guide my thesis, were it not for the media fellows program.

Devon Pendleton
Reporter, Forbes, New York

Devon Pendleton is a reporter with Forbes in New York where she covers entrepreneurs, the Middle East, and billionaires. Her reporting on billionaires focuses on how they amassed their fortunes, sustain them, and use them to influence the world. She has appeared on ABC and CNBC to discuss the economy and the role of the super wealthy. In coming to PERC, Devon chose to research the role of the wealthy in land protection issues; to reconcile the capitalist with the environmentalist. She discovered that the super wealthy can exert inordinate power in land issues and have a growing role in the debate over the future of wilderness. Her seminar was titled “Who are the Billionaires and Why should We Care?” Email: Devon Pendleton

My stay at PERC was one of the most stimulating and productive weeks of reporting I have ever enjoyed. Linda was exceedingly helpful in connecting me with many useful sources, who were able to shed light on the complex issues surrounding new wealth in the Bozeman area and its effect on environmental policy and the ranching community.

David Whitman
Journalist, Author

David Whitman covered social policy for U.S. News & World Report for nearly two decades from 1985 to 2003. He is the author of Sweating the Small Stuff: Inner City Schools and the New Paternalism, a two-year study of six high-performing inner-city secondary schools and their successful educational models. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the Atlantic, New Republic, and numerous other publications. As a freelance author and editor, Whitman has written widely on education, environment and energy issues. At PERC, his focus was an ongoing research project on trends in fossil fuel production on federally administered land. The data he had gathered showed more energy production on federal lands under Clinton and less under Bush, and he was able to get substantive feedback from economists at PERC. Email: David Whitman

I prized two aspects of my week-long media fellowship at PERC. First, I liked that PERC fellows welcome debate and challenges to free-market environmentalism. Unlike some research organizations that specialize in energy and environmental issues, Terry Anderson and other PERC researchers don’t want to hear only from people who agree with them. Second, PERC’s media fellowship gave me an opportunity to explore a reporting and research project (on trends in fossil fuel production on federally administered lands) that I’ve long been curious about, but deferred reporting due to its labor-intensive nature. My week at PERC gave me a running start toward completing that ambitious project.

Andy Stone
Senior reporter with Forbes in New York

Andy Stone is a senior reporter with Forbes in New York, where he has covered renewable energy, the biomedical industry and emerging markets for the past four and a half years. Prior to Forbes, he worked for the web site BioIsrael, which provided news on Israel’s biotechnology industry, and at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Tel Aviv, where he consulted with high-tech start-up companies. Andy is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and has a degree in biology and Spanish from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Boston University. Email: Andy Stone

Jim Michaels Media Fellowship

Having previously reported on offshore wind parks that can be located relatively close to population centers, Andy wanted to explore the potential for a strong wind power industry in Montana. The state ranks fifth among states in wind energy, but is remote from metropolitan areas and lacks adequate transmission to move power to other areas or even around Montana. His research included a visit to Montana’s largest wind farm, meetings with wind power developers, landowners who could potentially benefit from wind turbines on their property, lawyers negotiating deals for farmers and ranchers, utilities, siting authorities, and finally Governor Brian Schweitzer.

Rocky Barker
Environmental Reporter for the Idaho Statesman

Rocky Barker is an environmental reporter for the Idaho Statesman, where he was the primary researcher for an award-winning series of editorials calling for the breaching of four Snake River dams to save salmon. Previously, he was columnist and correspondent-at-large for the Idaho Falls (ID) Post Register where he led the newspaper’s team of reporters and editors in its examination of the Endangered Species Act and its effects on the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies. Barker also was the lead reporter for the Post Register’s award-winning coverage of the Yellowstone fires in 1988 and the author of Scorched Earth: How the Fires in Yellowstone Changed America. Barker is a 30-year news room veteran who has been covering environmental and western issues in Idaho since 1985.
Email: Rocky Barker

“Interacting with PERC staff allowed me to challenge my own ideas about the values and potential solutions to the environmental problems I cover. It was a marvelous respite from the usual daily news room grind where I got to think about the philosophical foundations of the issues I cover. Terry Anderson’s approach to environmentalism doesn’t fit into the framework of traditional environmentalists nor the industry groups with whom they clash. He makes my brain work harder and leads me down intellectual paths I might not have roamed.

Deroy Murdock
Nationally syndicated columnist, Contributing Editor at National Review Online, Media Consultant

Deroy Murdock is a contributing editor to National Review Online and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service. His column, “This Opinion Just In”, frequently appears in the New York Post, Washington Times, and Orange County Register, among some 400 U.S. newspapers he reaches weekly. He has been a panelist, commentator, and guest of news and talk shows broadcast on PBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and others. He has contributed articles on public policy and politics to academic journals. Email: Deroy Murdock

In September 2007, I was honored to spend a week at PERC’s headquarters in Bozeman. Linda Platts and other warm and friendly scholars helped me research an article on the ecological damage wrought by federal farm programs. They also inspired me to write about the use of free-market environmentalism in New York’s Central Park, of all places.

Katherine Mangu-Ward
Associate editor of Reason magazine

Katherine Mangu-Ward is an associate editor of Reason magazine and Previously, she worked as a reporter for The Weekly Standard magazine and as a researcher at The New York Times op-ed page for columnist John Tierney. She was a 2005 Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and numerous other publications. Email: Katherine Mangu-Ward

PERC is a place full of colorful characters doing good work. I received a warm welcome and was pleased to find many opportunities for serious discussion. The staff and fellows were a great resource, and I plan to continue to tap into the insights and information they offer. … I am impressed with the enviropreneurs – I plan to follow up with many of them in the near future.

G. Pascal (Gregg) Zachary
Journalist, author and teacher

G. Pascal (Gregg) Zachary is a journalist, author and teacher. He spent 13 years as a senior writer for the Wall Street Journal (1989-2001) and writes regularly for newspapers, magazines and journals, including Salon, Foreign Policy, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Wilson Quarterly, Fortune and Alternet. Gregg concentrates on development issues and sub-Saharan Africa, especially those involving migration, agriculture, technological change, governance and political economy. He teaches journalism at Stanford and has lectured on various campuses. He is the author of several books, most recentlyMarried to Africa (2009). Email: Gregg Zachary

PERC’s animating idea, about the importance of property rights in well-functioning societies, is of special relevance to sub-Saharan Africa, where wise land-use and equitable development remain hampered by immature economic institutions. My visit to PERC greatly helped my own quest for a more sophisticated understanding of the collision in Africa between humans and animals, business and conservation, wildlife and resource exploitation. The scholars at PERC are not only committed to applying their unique insights to a broad range of timely subjects, but are also open to finding new relevance for their work. I suspect that my own writing and research will be nourished by my encounter with PERC for months and years to come.

Bruce Barcott
Contributing Editor at Outside magazine, author

Bruce Barcott, is an environmental journalist, author and editor. He is a contributing editor of Outside and has written articles for The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Mother Jones, Sports Illustrated, and others. Barcott has also written a number of books including, The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier (1997) and The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird (2008). He was a Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder and in 2009, he was named a Guggenheim Fellow in nonfiction. Email: Bruce Barcott

In June 2006, I spent one of the most intellectually stimulating and rewarding weeks of my career working and learning as a PERC Media Fellow in Bozeman. My fellowship happily coincided with PERC’s annual Enviropreneur Institute and FME Student Seminar, which allowed me to drop in on a wide variety of speakers and seminars … It was a fantastic immersion in PERC’s ideas and overarching philosophy. I didn’t agree with every assertion, but that was kind of the point…. Between seminars I had a chance to further my own research on Western water issues in one-on-one discussions. …it was a terrific week, really got my mind spinning in new and wonderful ways.

Jon Christensen
Executive Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West

Jon Christensen Jon Christensen is the Executive Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West and a Principal Investigator in the Spatial History Project at Stanford University. He is also completing a Ph.D. in History focusing on the history of conservation, the science of conservation biology, and measuring conservation. He has been a free-lance environmental journalist and science writer for 20 years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, High Country News, Conservation in Practice, and many other newspapers, magazines, journals, and radio and television shows. He was a Knight Professional Journalism Fellow at Stanford in 2002-2003. Email: Jon Christensen

Being at PERC for a week as a visiting journalist has given me precious time to think about the importance of markets and property rights and the complex conservation challenges that we face in the western United States and around the world. The journalism conference was a perfect center-piece of the week. It exposed me and other journalists to ideas in action through case studies presented by the practitioners, ranchers, fishermen, conservationists, environmentalists, and public officials who are trying to use these tools to make a difference in the world. The take home message was we have to talk with each other before we can make a deal.

George A. Smith
Outdoor Columnist, Political Writer, TV Show Host

George A. Smith is an outdoor writer, newspaper political columnist, television show host, and executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, the state’s largest sportsmen’s organization. He writes a monthly column for the Maine Sportsman magazine and the Northwoods Sporting Journal, a weekly editorial-page column for central Maine’s two daily newspapers, and the monthly SAM News. He is co-host of Wildfire, a weekly television, talk show focused on conservation and environmental issues throughout the state. Email: George Smith

The luxury of an unstructured week to research and reflect on important issues, away from the daily demands on my time, was the greatest benefit of PERC’s media fellowship. … I focused on the competition for recreational use of public and private land.  The fellowship’s invitation to take my research in any direction proved incredibly valuable, enabling me to reach a series of unexpected conclusions. The unique programming and perspective of PERC is an important national resource that I will continue to draw upon as the years go by.

Laura Vanderkam
Freelance journalist and book author

Laura Vanderkam is a book author and a freelance writer from New York City. She is a regular contributor to USA Today, Wired, Fortune, Washington Times, Reader’s Digest, Huffington Post, and other media outlets. Her most recent book is Grindhopping: Build a Rewarding Career without Paying Your Dues. Laura covers career and business issues and with that in mind, she planned her fellowship to coincide with PERC’s Enviropreneur Institute anticipating sources for future stories. Email: Laura Vanderkam.

The main focus of Laura’s fellowship was to compare the Montana cities of Bozeman and Butte. Once a sleepy farming town, Bozeman now bustles with wealthy newcomers, shoppers from around the region, recreationists, and students and staff at Montana State University. In contrast, Butte, once a flourishing city riding high on copper mining, is now burdened with pollution from its mining past, decaying at the city center, and struggling for its survival. Her tale of two cities is a cautionary one.

Steve Greenhut
Editorial Page Writer for the Orange County Register

Steve Greenhut is a senior editorial writer and columnist for the Orange County Register. He is author of Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain (2004) that builds on his frequent reporting on government abuse of property rights in his editorials and weekly columns in the Register. Email: Steve Greenhut

“As a daily journalist, it’s hard to get even a day or two to research and try out ideas without the pressure of the deadline. I write about seven editorials and columns a week, so it’s hard for me to overemphasize the importance of getting away and doing what I did. I especially appreciated the chance to sit down with PERC scholars and talk about their areas of expertise, to have a chance to read reports and research you’ve done, and to get out and about in a community that is far different from the one I live in, yet is struggling with growth and environmental issues in its own way.

Jay Ambrose
Columnist for Scripps Howard News Service and Examiner papers

Jay Ambrose is a freelance columnist living in Colorado. He writes two columns a week nationally distributed by the Scripps Howard News Service to 400 newspapers and one column a week for the Examiner papers in San Francisco, Baltimore, and Washington. He was the former Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of the El Paso Herald-Post and the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. Email: Jay Ambrose

It was a terrific experience, and should be the basis for as many as a dozen or more columns. I am even now planning trips to Pine Ridge and other reservations. (Ambrose researched the means by which free market principles could be better used to help America’s 400,000 reservation Indians break the cycle of poverty.)

Bill Steigerwald
Columnist and associate editor for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Bill Steigerwald was born and raised in Pittsburgh where he is an associate editor and columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He began his career as a Los Angeles Times copy editor and free-lancer who also worked as a docudrama researcher for CBS-TV in Hollywood. He once described himself at the end of his column as a “lapsed Catholic who believes peaceful individuals, markets and society should be as free as possible and governments should be so small, poor and weak that no one interested in money or power would want to enter politics.”
Email: Bill Steigerwald

At PERC, Steigerwald’s main interest was energy with the goal of comparing Montana’s natural gas industry and rudimentary wind industry with new energy developments in western Pennsylvania. He met with PERC scholars, interviewed officials with wind and natural gas projects, and visited one of Montana’s newest wind farms. His PERC seminar compared energy development and land ownership in the West to that in the East, where the largest shale deposits in North America lie beneath Western Pennsylvania and parts of other states. Unlike the West, most of the surface rights and underground rights are in private ownership.

Carl M. Cannon
Executive Editor of Reader’s Digest

Carl M. Cannon is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from Washington, D.C., where he was the White House correspondent for the National Journal, a weekly magazine on politics and government. Most recently, he was the executive director of the Reader’s Digest. He also writes freelance for theAtlantic Monthly, Forbes, New Republic, and National Review, among other publications. Cannon won the Pulitzer Prize as a member of the San Jose Mercury News reporting staff  for coverage of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. He has also received the Gerald R. Ford Prize in 1999 for “Distinguished Reporting of the Presidency” and the Aldo Beckman Award for White House coverage in 2005. Email: Carl Cannon

“The land-use issues that fascinate me start with the painstaking efforts to replace non-native fish with indigenous species in bodies of water ranging from the taxpayer-owned Yellowstone Lake to the Ted Turner-owned Cherry Creek; they extend to the whimsical ideal of returning the Great Plains to the bison-covered prairie patrolled two centuries ago by the Mandans and Sioux. Such interests lead a person to Bozeman, and PERC made it possible for me to go there. At my presentation to the PERC staff, I learned more than I imparted. This was hardly a surprise: I have yet to encounter a western property and lands issue that hasn’t first attracted the fertile mind of PERC executive director Terry Anderson.

Emily Lambert
Writer for Forbes in Chicago and Forbes. com

Emily Lambert is a staff writer with Forbes magazine and, where she has recently focused on carbon trading. She is based in Chicago where traders and brokers are bracing for a flood of carbon-related business. She previously worked for Forbes in New York and the New York Post. Lambert is writing a book on the futures industry and the evolution of speculation and financial markets. She is interested in how futures markets might be used to address environmental issues, for example futures contracts for water. Contrary to her previous perceptions, PERC economists asserted that the cap and trade program in carbon has many deficiencies that remove it from the realm of free market environmentalism. Lambert spent time working on her manuscript and meeting with PERC researchers and fellows. Her seminar, “Futures Markets: Past, Present, and Future,” broadened the understanding of the PERC staff and aided Lambert with her manuscript. Email: Emily Lambert

PERC inspired me to think more deeply about the practical aspects of what makes a successful market. I left thinking more critically about the practical aspects of trading things like water and carbon. Although it was brief, my experience at PERC was very valuable—and surprising. I prepared a summary of my research on futures markets, and the immediate questions and feedback I received helped me better organize my thoughts, research, and writing.

Peter Blake
Editorial Writer and Political Columnist

Peter Blake was formerly an editorial writer and political columnist with the Rocky Mountain News in Denver. Previously he covered many of the beats on the paper and served for a time as city editor. Email: Peter Blake

The most inspired bit of madness during the week was having me give a presentation on my topic (public land grazing) within 36 hours of my arrival in Bozeman. I trust other journalists felt similarly challenged. We’re not accustomed to leading discussions. What we like to do is sit in the back and take notes while others talk, hoping there’s a lead in there somewhere. But it’s a very good idea.

Jeff Golden
Public radio talk show host

Jeff Golden has spent 25 years in public broadcasting, print journalism, politics, and mediation. He writes the online column Daily Tidings and blogs at Immense Possibilities. For 10 years, he was the host for National Public Radio’s show Jefferson Exchange, an award-winning daily talk and interview program, airing on NPR. Golden began his journalism career in public television as the creator and producer of the Downstate Gazette, a monthly program to showcase rural Oregon’s forest and water conflicts. He also has been an editorial writer and columnist and is the author of several books. Email: Jeff Golden


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