Learning to Communicate Science

Left to right: Carl Zimmer, Elizabeth Howell, Tim Lougheed, Penny Park

Evolution 2012 has kicked off to a great start for with with a workshop on Communicating Science to Society. We heard from great speakers including Carl Zimmer, Elizabeth Howell, Tim Lougheed, Penny Park, Peter Calamai (not shown) and Tom Sherratt (not shown).

I learned (or refreshed) quite a bit from the seminar. It started with Tom Sherratt describing his experiences dealing with popular media from the perspective of the scientists. Then we shifted gears to discuss the communication process from the journalist’s perspective on a number of topics and media outlets. Penny Park went over the importance of being prepared (especially for TV and radio) – both the interviewee and the interviewer, then Tim Lougheed stressed the importance of knowing your audience (and how to hook their interest – it’s like stand up comedy!). Elizabeth Howell gave us a lot of insight into the journalists’ experience (18 articles written a day! Yikes!), and the panel was rounded off with Carl Zimmer discussing what he charismatically called the Taxonomy of Interviews. We wrapped up the seminar with smaller group discussions with each of the panelists.

It was definitely a great way to start a week of communicating science (even if it’s to other scientists, not to the media). I’ve already revised the way I’m thinking of presenting the material in my poster to be more goal-oriented.

Leave a Reply