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Popular Science: Why Communicating Research Matters Oct.23, 2006 Chip Rose Asst. Director of Media Relations UMBC www.umbc.edu/NewsEvents Why Communicate w/ the Public? Hurricane Katrina = Most Public Interest in Earth Science in Decades Global Warming Becoming Public Policy Issue

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popular science why communicating research matters
Popular Science:Why Communicating Research Matters

Oct.23, 2006

Chip Rose

Asst. Director of Media Relations

UMBC

www.umbc.edu/NewsEvents

why communicate w the public
Why Communicate w/ the Public?
  • Hurricane Katrina = Most Public Interest in Earth Science in Decades
  • Global Warming Becoming Public Policy Issue
      • California emissions deal signed by Governator
      • “An Inconvenient Truth”
why communicate w the public3
Why Communicate w/ the Public?
  • Death & Taxes
    • It’s their money, it’s their planet
    • Stem Cell Research, Extreme Weather, etc.
      • Policy becomes personal
avenues opportunities
Avenues & Opportunities

Baltimore Sun Weather Blog

http://blogs.marylandweather.com/

avenues opportunities5
Avenues & Opportunities

Baltimore Sun Weather Blog

http://blogs.marylandweather.com/

Frank Roylance

  • Covers all things in the sky
baltimore sun health science
Baltimore Sun Health & Science
  • healthsci@baltsun.com
  • Send honors, awards, promotions (and a photo) for “Names in the News”
blogs
Blogs
  • One of our research groups landed a CNN slot just by publishing their research on their blog.
  • Blogs get Googled, Reporters & Editors Google stuff they don’t know.
  • Blogs written by scientists:
    • http://www.realclimate.org/
      • (climate change science)
    • http://cosmicvariance.com/
      • (physics & astrophysics)
old media blogging or online more
“Old Media” Blogging or Online More
  • http://blog.sciam.com/

Scientific American

http://www.newscientistspace.com/home.ns

New Scientist Space

Etc.

tips to get your story noticed
Tips to Get Your Story Noticed
  • Do your homework
    • Read where you’d like to be read.
    • Learn reporters’ beats, what they’ve covered recently, their voice and target audience.
  • Connect to regional or national trends
think visually
Think Visually
  • Why should “YouTube” be all Diet Coke & Mentos?
  • NASA News Knows Images are Key
  • A good photo can help your chances immensely
  • Local TV loves a good photo-op, be creative
  • We can help with on-camera training for TV interviews
become a news junkie
Become a News Junkie
  • Hot Issues
    • Big Bang, Darwin, Religion & Science
  • Anticipate tomorrow’s headlines, or even better, next week’s
  • Respect Reporters’ Deadlines
  • Exposure is great, but be prepared to be “on call”
writing popular summaries
Writing Popular Summaries
  • Average Newspaper Audience Reads at Middle School Level
  • Avoid Jargon
  • Explain Technical Terms if You Must Use
  • Analogies, size, shape, etc.
  • Sensory Detail – Paint a Picture
writing popular summaries13
Writing Popular Summaries
  • NY Times Science Page is Great
  • Read the Leads
    • “Fourteen years ago, when a Berkeley astronomer named George F. Smoot declared that he and his satellite, the Cosmic Background Explorer, or COBE, had detected the astrophysical equivalent of the fingerprints of God, his euphoria was easy to understand.”
stigma
Stigma?
  • Even Nobel Prize Winners Get Asked Tough Questions:
    • On NPR’s “Science Friday,” Astrophysics Nobel Winner George Smoot got asked:

“What did the Big Bang look like?”

    • http://www.umbc.edu/NewsEvents/PhotoGal/scifriday.mp3
best way to convey results
Best Way to Convey Results
  • Power Point is Fine
  • “Inconvenient Truth” Started as PPT
  • Main thing is Making Analogies Everyday Folks can Understand
  • While Letting Your Passion Shine Through