29 June 2015

FAQ – Working with the Media: Part III – Avoiding missteps and pitfalls

FAQ – Working with the Media: Part III  – Avoiding missteps and pitfalls

This is the third in a three-part series answering scientists’ frequently-asked questions about working with the media. This FAQ series accompanies the Working with the Media webinar, offered by AGU’s Sharing Science program on May 29. Read part one and part two.

1. What are some common pitfalls when working with the media and how can I avoid them?

Common Pitfall #1: Getting into the weeds. Focus on the bigger picture. Prepare your top three key messages ahead of time and practice delivering them to a mirror, to a friend, over the phone, etc. During the interview, bring the conversation back to your key messages. Then, keep coming back to them. Communicating in simple, repeated messages is not a natural skill for many scientists, but it is a critical skill for any speaker. Often, audiences need to hear ideas repeated before they will remember them. For more on this, read “How much detail should I go into when talking with reporters” in Part II of the FAQ.

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19 June 2015

FAQ – Working with the Media: Part II – Interviews and relationships with reporters

FAQ – Working with the Media: Part II – Interviews and relationships with reporters

This is the second in a three-part series answering scientists’ frequently-asked questions about working with the media. This FAQ series accompanies the Working with the Media webinar, offered by AGU’s Sharing Science program on May 29. 1. How should I prepare for an interview? When a reporter contacts you to schedule an interview, find out what the format will be. Is it an in-person, phone, radio or TV interview? Who is the person doing the interview? About how long will it be? If it’s for TV or radio, is the interview being taped or is it live? Then, write and rehearse your key messages – the main thoughts you want to share during the interview. Practice repeating them until you can rattle off the essentials but don’t memorize them word-for-word.

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10 June 2015

FAQ – Working with the Media: Part I – The Media

Radio Reporter

This is the first in a three-part series answering scientists’ frequently-asked questions about working with the media. 1. What should I expect when working with the media? Journalists may or may not have a science background, and may or may not have covered the topic before. So, it is best to talk to journalists as if they are new to the subject and don’t have a science background. They will ask for more detail if they need it.

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4 June 2015

AGU’s 2015 Mass Media Fellow to report for National Geographic

AGU’s 2015 Mass Media Fellow to report for National Geographic

Geologist and environmental chemist Maya Wei-Haas defended her thesis last month on flame retardants in lakes and streams of Arctic Alaska. Rather than set off on new studies with her Ph.D., though, Wei-Hass will spend her summer on a different kind of adventure: working as a science reporter at National Geographic in Washington, D. C.

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28 May 2015

Scientists should speak simply to other scientists, too

Scientists should speak simply to other scientists, too

By Ilissa Ocko The canonical rule of thumb for scientists speaking to nonscientists is to talk as if you were speaking to eighth graders, because a lay audience often has a basic, and certainly not specialized, understanding of science – about the same level as an eighth grader. If you want the information to resonate with the non-scientist audience, you have to strip down to the essentials, craft a story, …

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16 April 2015

Climate scientists and faith-based groups come together this Earth Day for GreenFaith Day 2015

Climate scientists and faith-based groups come together this Earth Day for GreenFaith Day 2015

A wide range of climate science experts, including researchers, state climatologists, and Fulbright students, will volunteer their time to meet with churches, synagogues, mosques, and other faith groups in more than 20 U.S. states to speak on climate change and explore solutions on a local level.

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1 April 2015

“Reaffirming the Social Contract Between Science and Society” on Eos.org

"Reaffirming the Social Contract Between Science and Society" on Eos.org

In a recent opinion story for AGU’s Eos magazine, Associate Executive Director and Senior Policy Fellow at the American Meteorological Society William Hooke reflects on the current status of the relationship between science and society: “Stresses over the past decade or so have frayed the fabric of the social contract between scientists and society. The complexity and costs of science have been growing … Society has asked scientists for more help, even as research budgets have remained relatively constant. Relations have been strained on both sides.”

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30 March 2015

Q&A with journalist-turned-geologist Rex Buchanan (Part 3): A reporter on the other side of the media

Rex Buchanan

I always thought I’d be one of those guys that got along with reporters really well. Well, maybe I wouldn’t. I had another television reporter just this week that I basically said, “Don’t call me again because I ain’t talking to you.” I went home and my wife said, “You know, you’re picking ‘em off one by one; sooner or later you’re not going to talk to any of them.”

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23 March 2015

Q&A with journalist-turned-geologist Rex Buchanan (Part 2): Walking a political tightrope

Rex Buchanan Measures Groundwater

About the first of October, we had a … I think it was a 4.2 [magnitude earthquake]. We had to go down to where the earthquake was and meet with the county commission. It was open to the public. All the Wichita television stations were there. [Many of us] had lunch together, and I said, “I know when I walk in that room, everybody’s going to say, ‘well I’m sure glad I’m not that guy.’” And everyone at the table pretty much agreed with me.

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16 March 2015

Q&A with journalist-turned-geologist Rex Buchanan (Part 1): From journalist to geologist

Rex Buchanan

When Rex Buchanan became interim director of the Kansas Geological Survey in 2010, earthquakes there were practically unheard of. Only a handful had occurred in the previous ten years, and none at all since 2008. But beginning in 2013, at least one tremor large enough for people to feel rattles Kansas every few days—an uptick in seismic activity that researchers have tied to the state’s oil and gas industry. Reporters have been quick to jump on the link. Many mistakenly blame the quakes on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which geologists crack open subsurface rock formations using high-pressure fluid to extract oil and gas buried underground. A frequent source for media interviews, Buchanan finds himself setting the record straight.

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