Mail to the Illinois State magazine editor for February 2014.

To the Editor,

Usually I celebrate this magazine’s alumni stories. Your last issue, though, included “Riding the oil and gas boom,” which described the successful careers of geology majors participating in the fracking boom. This boom brings trouble. Fracking offers uncertain careers that contribute to the climate change crisis, a terrible threat seen most recently with the devastating Philippine typhoon.

While this magazine has written about students and wind energy—a choice I applaud—the editorial board should not equate wind energy workers with fracking workers as if the careers are equally valuable and/or equally harmless to the environment.

Your November journalism majors’ story describes alums, faculty and students retooling for a changing world. While “Riding” acknowledges geology students’ discomfort with fracking, the article does not describe how some geology majors choose non-oil and gas careers.

The oil and gas boom has brought to other states decreased home values, polluted water, environmental health problems, and ruined agricultural land. The successful careers of some geology majors should be weighed against the harsh realities all of us will face when hydraulic fracturing arrives in Illinois.

Please publish an article about the many ISU professors, students and alumni fighting to keep fracking out of Illinois, and/or bringing information about the need for altered lifestyles in the face of climate change’s dangers.

Sandra Lindberg ’77, M.S. ’78

Editor’s Note: The article ran as part of a series on the role alumni play in the business of energy. The first article, “Illinois State helps fuel the wind energy revolution,” focused on alums working in wind energy and ISU programs preparing students for that field (May 2013).

To the Editor,

The cover story in the November issue (“Print Purgatory”) was a great article, but I feel it missed exploring an industry niche: community newspapers.

Community newspapers cover the news in small towns across America that dailies can’t or choose not to explore. Many community papers have gone from five days a week to one or two issues a week, but if communities embrace the newspaper and the staff embrace the community, the publication can succeed and thrive!

I’ve worked for community newspapers most of my career. I currently work for an organization that owns nearly 80 community newspaper across the United States. Our first love is print, but we recognize the need to accept and jump on board with digital and are initiating a program that will include both!

I hope new graduates will consider small town community newspapers in their career search. We offer the opportunity to learn every facet of the industry that may not be experienced in other mediums. We can be a stepping stone in their careers or, opportunity to move up!

Katy O’Grady-Pyne ’81