I attended the 2014 National Association of Black Journalists meeting in Boston, Massachusetts July 30-August 2014 (NABJ Program book). This was the second NABJ conference I have attended, this time with assistance from the National Science Writers Association. My participation as a panel speaker and networking helped continue a conversation concerning media diversity in science communication.

The Healthy NABJ programming track has been working to raise attention concerning healthy disparities and news coverage about health related issues about African-American and other minority audiences among NABJ membership since it launched in 2009. This year Healthy NABJ hosted three panels

  • Using Social Media for informed and influential reporting

  • Reporting to readers, viewers and listeners for better health/covering the woman’s experience
  • A conversation with Dr. Louis Sullivan

I was a speaker on the social media panel. We engaged an audience of approximately 25 attendees in a conversation about the relevancy of story-telling and diversity real time reporting, using Twitter to identify science news trends such as public health events and environmental issues, and finally a discussion about legal considerations of social media reporting.


Healthy NABJ Panel with (l-r) Mark Luckie, Kiratiana Freelon, me (Danielle Lee) and Robert Bertsche


Recaps of the Using Social Media Panel

· Storify of the Healthy NABJ Panel https://storify.com/cunyjschool/healthynabj-at-nabj14/embed

· Slideshare of my Diversity in Health and Science Communication presentation https://www.slideshare.net/DNLee/health-and-science-communication-diversity

· Pdf of Mark Luckie’s Reporting with Social Media Presentation app.box.com/s/ruhivwbd1a91

The other Healthy NABJ panels also included vibrant discussion with dozens of other NABJ attendees. The Women’s Experience attracted an at-capacity room to that engaged in a very deep conversation about the importance of reporting on health issues to impact health policies that affect minority women disproportionately.

Dr. Louis Sullivan, me (Danielle Lee), and Cindy George

I also had a chance to meet and speak with Dr. Sullivan. We discussed the role of and importance of having scientists and doctors as science communicators when sharing health news, science news and cataloging the history of research and its relationship to minority communities.

A special thank you to Ms. Cindy George, Officer of NABJ and leader of the Healthy NABJ Initiative. Ms. George was instrumental in coordinating all of the #HealthyNABJ panels at this meeting, including invited me to participate.

I also networked with many other journalists – those that cover general topics as well as included meeting individuals and discus over a dozen NABJ members who are interested in health news or cover health related science in some way.

It was especially rewarding to connect with higher education leaders at some of the leading journalism and communication colleges in this nation. I was able to connect with professors and admissions counselors at Hampton University, Syracuse University, Howard University, City University of New York, University of Florida, and University of Oregon. The interest in training a diverse cadre of science communicators is definitely swelling among these higher education leasers.

* Additional photographs from the conference are available at the photo album published on my Fan Page.

Lately, my online science advocacy has really emphasized the importance of science communication as an integral part of broadening participation of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to wider audiences. Cultivating media diversity in general and specifically among those who professionally cover science, health, and environment topics could really change the game.

Presenting science-related news stories in a timely and culturally relevant way opens up who participates in these related policy conversations surrounding these topics. Inclusive science communication fosters science engagement among traditionally under-served audiences. I believe attending this meeting helped to foster many important conversations about potential relationships between NASW and NABJ.

As I prepare to attend the Science Writers Conference this weekend, many of the conversations will continue and develop. If you are attending this meeting, be sure to drop me a note. I would love to connect and discuss how we can work together to cultivate a diverse and inclusive professional science communication community.