It is easier to cultivate a pre-existing interest in STEM fields than create it where none exists, states the reportOf the STEM disciplines, male students tend to gravitate toward fields of engineering and technology, while females far prefer science fields, including chemistry, biology, environmental science, and marine biology...Ethnically, Asian Americans express the highest interest in STEM fields, both currently and historically. Before 2001, African Americans held the second-highest rank, but since then their interest has plummeted nearly 30 percent and is now lower than any other ethnicity, the report states. ~ The Science Subjects that Attract High School Students January 31, 2013 at Under the Microscope. (emphasis mine)
Addressing this decline in interests in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) will take a lot of hands on deck. I know I have been on one lately: orating and blogging passionately about integrating STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) into the African-American Experience. And I put a lot of onus on the media community. That is because so many people depend on news services to hip us to what matters and what is interesting. Science and Math are serious subjects, but they can be fun and interesting, too. I see no reason why they couldnt be as much apart of the light news fare as entertainment or gossip.
So when I say the tweet from The Loop 21 Announcing #Top10 Things You Need To Know for Tuesday that included a hook to the list mentioning Ray Lewis & Donald Trump and did a face palm. The list was interesting, including sound bites of current events including 2 references to Technology, an obvious Super Bowl nod, some entertainment including 2 pictures of Beyonce, but only one reference to science. So I asked, What do I have to do to get The Loop 21 to include Science, Education and Environment News on its #Top10 You Need To Know Daily list. I was happy to see others jump on board.
Public science education is likely to be more effective with downstream strategic collaborations and partnerships reaching African American and other minority communities. Host a few talks/interviews and pose this dilemma with folks like Henry Louis Gates, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Melissa Harris Perry, Serbino Sandifer-Wal, Navarro Wright and Tristan Walker. Publish these stories and look to move Scientific American into Huffington Post Black Voices, The Root, MSNBC, The Griot and get their take on the 2012 Top 10 Stories in Science & Medicine for African Americans To Read to demonstrate exemplar reporting.
She is so right. We have got to force these conversations some how. But first, we have got to have fodder for people to discuss in order to get people to think of their own Top Stories in Science/Medicine/Education/etc. So, instead of writing Science & Black History Month posts, I want to help spread the word of great posts that already exist about Science & Tech and get these news organizations to take notice and start featuring this kind of news more.
Friends on Twitter and Facebook have been share interesting, relevant, engaging news of Black Achievement/Innovation/Participation in STEM, Education, Environment and who host of other enlightening topics. But they arent getting any play.
Black Geek Week at University of Illinois a celebration of Black Comics, Afro-futurist Artists, and Sci-fi
Anyone from the Blacks in Technology 28 Days Innovate List
Wouldnt any of these stories make great headlines on The Loop 21 Facebook news feed or The Root Twitter timeline or on the online versions of Ebony Magazine?
Ive heard that they dont share more of this kind of news because there is no demand for it. Lets show them that that isnt true. Or that the advertisers baulk because people dont flock to more serious news. Lets show them that balanced media is always well-received by audiences. Or my favorite they are not aware of these news stories because their staffs are already stretched. So, lets hand them all of the enlightening science, education, environment and feel-good stories of African-American pioneers and tastemakers of today that they will reconsider their staffing options for the entire year?
Will you join us? Lets kick it off!
I already share links via Twitter with my readers. I will now cc news organizations like BET, Ebony/Jet , and PR Newswire African-American to alert them of this new news.
Next, I will do Link Round ups of interesting science and STEM-related posts I come across the web. I am asking my partners in Better Media Literacy (+ you) to join me. Drop those links, please! Host link round ups on topics in your area of expertise that you wished got more coverage. Then lets link to each other and re-tweet like crazy!
Perhaps we should email editors, too? What do you all think? In the meantime, please drop those links to stories and offer any other news organizations worth tweeting to.