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Time for Science News in the Black Press: NABJ Call for Proposals

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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I’m an advocate for science literacy and for several years now I have been begging and screaming for more science-related news in minority target media outlets.  When I read on Twitter that the National Association for Black Journalists (NABJ) is calling for proposal submissions for the 2013 meeting (which will be July 31 – August 4 in Orlando, Florida) I just knew that the universe was presenting me with the formal opportunity to make something that I care about and that I believe is terribly important to happen.

The Program Committee is accepting innovative, educational and “out of the box” proposals that tie into our theme, “People, Purpose, Passion: The Power of NABJ.”

Science News as definitely been out-of-the-box for African-American focused media.

I can’t think of anything that touches on the theme better than science journalism. Science is about PEOPLE, the people who pursue science and use it. Science provides information to help people pursue life with PURPOSE and meaning. And nothing speaks of PASSION more than informed advocacy for our communities.  I think Science News (and related topics like health, environment, science education and innovation) speaks to the POWER of NABJ to inform and inspire people – student and professional journalists, and media consumers alike – than science.

NABJ seems hungry for new panel proposals, especially related to Beats or topics area. Science is a Beat. Yeah! I would like to pitch a proposal.

Workshop IdeaSo, You want to be a Science Writer?

Track: On the Beats

Participants:

Although I am proposing this thing, and I am willing to accept the responsibilities of the organizer…The thing is…I’m not a journalist. I have had no training – formal or informal, in science communication. I started blogging six years ago – that and my teaching experiences have been on-the-job training in science communication. So, I will need official Science Journalists and Writers to make this Workshop happen. I need partners. This is my official plea. I’m reaching out.

Speaker 1: Someone with authentic Science Journalism chops – a science writer or reporter who went to J–School and all. I think it is important to have a professional and trained journalist who can answer questions about training, expectations, and job opportunities related to science writing and/or reporting.

Speaker 2: A young science journalist who has attended a Science Internship Program such as the AAAS Minority Science Writers Internship.  I think it is imperative to highlight programs and opportunities related to diversifying the field and voices represented in science news coverage.

Speaker 3: A Science News Editor or Program Director.  It is important to also highlight the business end of science related news and students and journalists interested in science news should know what to expect from editors and gatekeepers.

Ideally, I think at least one of the participants should represent the membership/be a member the NABJ and the National Association of Science Writers (or similar organization). I am not a member of either.  But effective and thorough science news coverage is something I care deeply about (See examples here, here and here).  I also care about exposing students to new career opportunities.  So I am hoping this workshop is a way to bridge a connection between the organizations.  Plus, I hope to inspire NABJ to start a Science Task Force. (Tasks Forces are professional groups within NABJ).

If my proposal is accepted, then I would be responsible for coordinating the entire panel, speakers, topics, and the arrangements. NABJ does NOT cover the costs of registration, travel, lodging, or meals for workshop coordinators or speakers. Welp! So, I would need partners and/or sponsors willing to help with these costs.  I think this is a very worthwhile endeavor. If anyone else agrees and would like to participate – in any capacity – then please reach out to me. I could use the assistance and I would really appreciate it.

The deadline for submitting proposals is Wednesday, October 17 before midnight EST.

If you are interested in participating, in any capacity, speaker, errand-runner, sponsor, then please contact me.  You can leave a comment or leave your contact information in this secure form.

If there is a ground-swell of support and people willing to participate, then perhaps we can work together to submit more than one panel on Science, such as:
- Science Communication in different formats: Traditional News, Popular, New Media Outlets
- Health Science & Disparity Statistics News Topics
- Environmental Justice Topics
- Education reform and STEM workforce

DNLee About the Author: DNLee is a biologist and she studies animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology . She uses social media, informal experiential science experiences, and draws from hip hop culture to share science with general audiences, particularly under-served groups. Follow on Twitter @DNLee5.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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