About FrackSource

About us

We are a group of students at Michigan State University seeking to develop a resource that can assist journalists with the intricacies of reporting on hydraulic fracturing. The first version of this website is the product of the class Environmental Science & Health: Journalism Seminars. Here’s a little bit about us:

  • Katie Habrel is a graduate student studying Journalism. She has worked for one year as a journalist for Great Lakes Echo, an online publication covering environmental issues in the Great Lakes region.
  • Douglas Klimbal
  • Shengpan Lin is interested in the sciences of scientific communication. He is celebrating his 2nd PhD in Environmental Science & Policy, and Integrative Biology (dual major) at the moment of writing this (May 5, Spring 2017). Shengpan also has a PhD in Applied Remote Sensing and Geoinformaiton. He studies environmental problems through the len of natural science as well as social science. Friends also call him “Champagne”, “Bubble”, and “Champ”. That is not because he drinks like a champ, but people get his name “Shengpan” in their own ways. He is fine with whatever people call him as long as they have fun.
  • Morgan Linn is an undergraduate student majoring in the Arts and Humanities, and minoring in German and the Leadership of Organizations. She worked for two years as a journalist for Great Lakes Echo.
  • Lucy Schroeder is an undergraduate student majoring in Plant Biology and minoring in Science, Technology, and Environmental Public Policy.
  • Alison Singer is a graduate student studying the use of narrative and storytelling in science communication.
  • Ian Wendrow


Mission statement:

Our objective: to provide journalists like you with a database of information on hydraulic fracturing and guidelines to improve your coverage of hydraulic fracturing and the practices associated with it.

Misunderstanding plagues communication focused on translating scientific information into plain English. Scientific information is sometimes misrepresented by selectively focusing on one perspective. This “single-study syndrome” can be hazardous and easy to fall into. We want to help you overcome these difficulties and report reliable information to a lay audience without losing important context.

While our focus is Michigan, this guide will empower journalists working here and in other states. For example, in our section on Google Trends, we use the state of New York as an indication of public opinion and news because the available data is much more dramatic than what is available for Michigan.

Our information is sourced from academic journals and papers and uploaded to a searchable database. Common misconceptions and myths about hydraulic fracturing are addressed through statements and views of those on both sides of the debate. Public opinion and policy actions have been addressed as well to illuminate the political and environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing.

It is our hope that the research and evidence gathered here will pave the way towards more comprehensive reporting on hydraulic fracturing. Our resource is meant to alleviate confusion for average news consumers and to foster better communication between scientists and journalists like you.

john mcsporran
Image courtesy of john mcsporran via Flickr.