I love the internet! I especially love how video and audio conferencing technology makes it possible for people to access experts across the landscape. Moments before I signed on to G+ to host a chat between Journalists and Scientists, my friend and colleague Skyped me up to better explain a concept to his population ecology students. 10 minutes: in and out. He was drawing out a diagram and I explained a concept that students were having a hard time comprehending.
Let me say this first: I am SO grateful to each of them for participating and sharing their wisdom and experiences in communication and outreach.
We have a growing community of science communicators that involves scientists, journalists and more. There is work to do. Scientists must cultivate some skills – develop our chops – and learn to deliver meaningful pitches to editors.
Journalists will need to stretch beyond the typical journalism lines – broaden their vision – and learn to see the science embedded in a story. But what I walked away with was an overwhelming feeling of confidence that this bridge is being built. Right now, and it will be awesome!
There was a lot of good stuff in the chat, video below. Here are some of the take-aways and link to resources.
1) Scientists and Journalists need to befriend each other. Here are some places to meet:
These are expertise genies to help journalists connect to experts.
2) Participate in on going chats – like #Jchat or #STEMchat. Cross-pollinate the conversations. This lets journalists know you exist as well as demonstrate your expertise and communication style in certain topics. Make friends with people on Twitter, LinkedIn and email.
3) Attend events and meet people I real life. Networking events, meetups are great. Presenting at communication conferences are good if you are aware of proposal deadlines.
4) Practice making pitches. Here is a useful piece about pitches: http://www.theopennotebook.com/2012/01/04/how-not-to-pitch/.
Kris and I realized that it might be good for us to practice writing pitches in small groups to each other. Maybe forming a pitch writing group? For graduate students, consider attending a science communication course if your university offers it.
5) On Science Explainers. They can be a good thing, but what’s inherently interesting to a scientist needs to be framed or packaged in way to make it interesting to an editor and ultimately to the readers of a publication. Keep in mind that explainers that elucidate information on a breaking news or hot topic issue are always a good thing. Check out Journalists Resource – Science for information.
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