Knight Center for Environmental Journalism

Bad Company to air on WKAR-PBS in late May

The Great Lakes system of locks and canals opened up the region to more than just economic opportunities; it also paved the way for hundreds of destructive invasive species.

Their untold negative impacts on the region’s ecology and economy have led some to consider them “bad company.” The Knight Center’s fourth documentary of the same name examines the history of invasive species in the Great Lakes region.

It’s set to run on May 24, 2011 at 8 p.m. on MSU’s broadcasting channel WKAR-PBS.

Bad Company is preceded by The Night Shift, an award-winning documentary about the impact of chemicals on great horned owls in Midland, Mich.; Dying to be Heard, an award-winning story of the Michigan State professor who discovered a link between DDT and dying birds on campus; and Meltdown, a look at global climate change from a local perspective.

Instructor Lou D’Aria and journalism student Matt Mikus co-produced the one-hour program with help from associate producer Rachael Gleason and a handful of additional Michigan State students.

Overall, D’Aria is pleased with how the documentary came out, especially the narration. Jim Peck, Big Ten Network executive producer, voiced the piece on his own time.

“Jim Peck did a great job. I’m really happy with the amount of work and effort he put into it,” D’Aria said.
One of the biggest obstacles to production was the lack of budget. D’Aria relied on eager students and free-to-use material from the United States National Archives and photo-sharing websites like Flickr to tell the story.

Some of the producers traveled miles to get some of the footage; other parts came from D’Aria’s own back yard.
It took more than a year to complete the piece.

“That’s the thing with doing videos. They are never finished,” he said.

Michigan State University previewed Bad Company on campus in late February.

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