The Water Desk operates with the help of University of Colorado Boulder staff, faculty and students, as well as outside contributors. If you’re interested in contributing to The Water Desk, please contact us.
Directors and Staff
Director, The Water Desk
Mitch Tobin is director of The Water Desk, a journalism initiative at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Environmental Journalism that focuses on Western water issues and the Colorado River Basin. From 1998 to 2006, Mitch covered water, environmental, and other issues for the Napa Valley Register, Tucson Citizen, and Arizona Daily Star. His 2010 book, Endangered: Biodiversity on the Brink, analyzes the impact of the Endangered Species Act and won a gold medal in the Independent Book Publisher Awards.
After leaving the newspaper business, Mitch worked at California Environmental Associates and was a lead writer of the Design to Win report that helped inspire funders to create the ClimateWorks Foundation. As a consultant, he also evaluated foundations’ grantmaking on environmental issues. With support from philanthropy, Mitch created EcoWest.org to track environmental trends in the American West and WaterPolls.org to analyze public opinion on water issues. Mitch has a B.A. in ethics, politics, and economics from Yale and an M.A. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley.
Director, Center for Environmental Journalism
Tom Yulsman directs the Center for Environmental Journalism and is a professor in the Department of Journalism. He keeps an active journalistic career going by covering climate change, weather, and other topics in the Earth and environmental sciences for major magazines and online publications. He writes regularly for Discover Magazine, where he runs ImaGeo, a visual blog he created that focuses on the intersection of imagery, imagination, and planet Earth. His book, “Origins: The Quest for our Cosmic Roots,” covers the origin and evolution of the universe, from the big bang to life. Before joining CU in 1996, Yulsman was editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. In addition to Discover, his work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Audubon, bioGraphic, Climate Central, and others.
Yulsman received his MS degree in 1980 from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, and a BA in environmental studies in 1977 from Harpur College of the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Graphics and Data
Geoff McGhee specializes in interactive data visualization and multimedia storytelling. He is a veteran of the multimedia and infographics staffs at The New York Times, Le Monde and ABCNews.com. Geoff spent a Knight Fellowship year at Stanford in 2009-2010 researching data visualization, which resulted in the widely-cited video documentary “Journalism in the Age of Data.”
Geoff spent nearly nine years at Stanford’s Bill Lane Center for the American West, overseeing its websites and digital publications, such as the ‘…& the West’ blog with Felicity Barringer, and the EcoWest series of environmental data trackers on wildfires, drought, and snowpack, among others.
Susan Moran is a print and online journalist who has reported in the U.S. and several other countries on the environment, energy, health and other issues for publications including The New York Times, bioGraphic, Popular Science, Nature and The Economist. She is also a host and producer of How On Earth, a weekly science show on KGNU radio. And she teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at CU Boulder. Susan has been a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and a Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism. Previously she worked on staff at Reuters (in Tokyo, New York, and Silicon Valley) as a reporter and editor, at Business 2.0 magazine, and other news organizations. She holds a MS degree in journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University; a MA in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley; and BA in political science (minor in environmental studies) from UC Santa Cruz.
Jenna Sampson was born beneath the dancing auroras in Alaska. She eventually found her way to San Francisco where she took a job at a 30 person company called Twitter. There she launched a local grants and non-profit outreach program, working with the government and community parters to connect company resources with those who need them. Finally she moved to the mountains to take up goat-milking and rock climbing before getting the courage to return to school. She is now pursuing her dream to be a non-fiction storyteller, using modern technology and curiosity to spread information that can have a positive impact on the world. She is currently focused on multimedia and environmental journalism at CU Boulder.
Julia is an intern at The Water Desk and a master’s student in the journalism program at the University of Colorado Boulder. After obtaining a B.A. in Communication from Texas A&M University, she came to Colorado for all of the great opportunities that the state has to offer in the field of environmental journalism and science communication. Throughout the program she has most enjoyed attending field trips to speak in depth with scientists and write about their research. In the spring of 2019, she served as a research intern for one of the Scripps Fellows in the Center for Environmental Journalism and is excited to be continuing her involvement with the CEJ through The Water Desk. Julia is reporting on water issues, spearheading the social media strategy and building a multimedia library that journalists and others can use as a resource.
Amanda K. Clark (Moe)
In 2019, Moe supported our water-related journalism through reporting, writing, editing and other activities to advance our goal of strengthening coverage of Western water issues. Prior to her position at The Water Desk, she was the editorial assistant/digital content coordinator for the University of Colorado Boulder’s alumni magazine, the Coloradan, where she wrote news and feature articles for the online and print publication and performed a slew of other tasks that made a small magazine production run smoothly. Before that, she worked as a science/news writer for the University of Maine’s magazine, UMaineToday. Moe holds a master’s degree in environmental journalism from CU Boulder and a B.S. in biology and ecology from the University of Maine.
As a journalist and former intern for The Water Desk, Greg Ramirez approaches the craft and study of environmental journalism with relentless curiosity. His professional career, which spans multiple industries and cities, started in public relations, where he worked in the National Hockey League for both the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators. In those roles, he worked closely with front-office executives and athletes to promote the on- and off-ice endeavors of each club. Later, in Seattle, he helped an architecture firm shape a new identity as they repositioned themselves in the Puget Sound region. Greg has also worked as an educator, guiding at-risk students at a Dallas-area high school.
As a journalist, Greg aspires to distill the experiences of others into meaningful conversations and stories, which he hopes will connect individuals to each other, to themselves and to the natural world around them. Greg has his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas in radio, television and film.