I'm taking a big leap next week. I'll be participating in Science 101 Journalism Workshop at the National Association of Black Journalists Meeting next week in Orlando, Florida. Joining me will be

  • Robin Lloyd, News Editor at Scientific American,
  • David Kroll, Director of Science Communications, Nature Research Center, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC, Teaching Associate Professor of English (Journalism), North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
  • Ivan Oransky, Executive Editor, Reuters Health
  • Jamila Bey, Radio Show Host pg The Sex, Politics And Religion Hour: SPAR With Jamila, AM 1390 Washington, DC and AM 1430 New York City, Washington Post blog, She the People

Science Journalism 101 Workshop for NABJ 2013

The African-American community's relationship with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) has been fraught with challenges. One barrier to participation is lack of knowledge about these topics. Opportunities to report on recent discoveries at local colleges or by African-American scientists has largely been overlooked by the media targeted at this audience. Additionally, lack of news coverage by Ethnic News organizations on important topics such as energy, the environment, technology, product safety, personal health and other science topics is partly due to the unease general news reporters may have in covering science-intensive stories. This workshop will focus on helping reporters cultivate relationships with key scientists and engineers, and provide a list of media-ready African-American scientists and engineers.

Which brings me to my ask: Will you join the National Science & Technology News Service? This is our growing STEM media contact list of Scientists, Engineers, Doctors, as well as Health, Environment and Science Reporters who are members of or have experience working with diverse groups. The list is open to any professional who has experience working with minority media outlets. We want to spread the message and support scientific literacy.

Attending a Journalism conference is outside of my purview; however I recognize the importance of making connections with the journalism community in order to reach the bigger goals: to get more science, health, environment news from, about, and concerning African American audiences out in the mainstream markets. To achieve these goals we need to cultivate journalists of color who are willing to pitch and write about or produce shows about these topics. We need to get on the radar of gate keepers such as editors and producers so that they will call for more science-related health stories and be willing to accept pitches from freelancers. Finally, we need to connect to Journalism School Professors, especially those at Minority Serving Institutions and encourage them to provide science, health, and environmental journalism courses for their majors.

With your assistance we can not only increase the number of STEM, science, health, environment, medicine stories reported in Black target publications, but to also raise awareness of the number and breadth of expertise within the African-American Community. The National Science & Technology News Service will be a community of scientists, journalists, and science communicators who are dedicated to serving quality, accurate news information to long-overlooked communities. We aim to increase the scientific literacy and interests in science and tech related topics and careers of whole communities.

You can follow us on Twitter as @TheDarkSci. If you're media ready and ready to make the leap, then join us!