Scientists and the Media, at ScienceOnline2012

Several sessions this year focus on the strategies for scientists and the media how to talk to each other better:

Pimp your elevator pitch (workshop) – Karen James

For practising scientists: can you describe your research, clearly and accessibly, in two minutes? We plan to video about five volunteers doing their ‘elevator pitch’, then ask for feedback from the floor. Then the same five people do it again, and we compare the two (times five) videos. Hopefully this will be a worthwhile and engaging experiment for everybody who wants to engage with their family, the wider population, the departmental head, rich philanthropists…

Why Scientists Hate & Fear the Media; or, Science training for journalists. (discussion) – Miriam Goldstein and Craig McClain

During last year’s Death to Obfuscation workshop, tips & tricks came up for getting scientists to talk to journalists. But why do scientists have to be cajoled, lured, and begged to talk to journalists? And how can you as a journalist/writer avoid being a source of fear & loathing, and develop a positive relationship with scientists? Practicing scientists who’ve spent time in the communication trenches (Miriam on the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, Craig on “Isopocalypse”, and others in the room) will give the inside scoop about what scientists complain about behind closed doors, and how you as a journalist/writer can get beyond the apathy and hostility to amazing science stories.

Do press officers/public information officers need journalists any more (discussion) – David Harris

With the plethora of tools available to press officers/public information officers for direct-to-audience communication, how much is the intermediary of the mainstream press required? What kinds of formats and players are taking the place of mainstream press? How are press officers/PIOs using these tools effectively to both communicate messages and engage in substantive dialog with their stakeholders and audiences? The session is intended to not only assess where we are now but to futurecast the direction of this kind of work.

On the record – a media-skills workshop for scientists. (workshop) – Ed Yong and Charles Duhigg

This practical workshop will cover why media work is important, how to gain confidence, how to defend yourself against misquoting, and how to deal with interviews in a variety of media – phone, TV and radio; live and pre-recorded. It will be run by a massive raft of seasoned spokespeople and journalists. We will hope to give delegates practice by matching them up in pairs or small groups with journalists for mock interviews. The journalists may or may not be pretending to be evil.

What to do when you’re the go-to online outreach person at your institution: guidelines from the Science Online group (Working Group – commit to develop a written document) – Miriam Goldstein and Jai Ranganathan

When someone comes to you and says, “So I want to get into this internets things,” what do you tell them? Best practices? Lessons learned? This information is scattered over the blogosphere to some degree, so this working group will gather it up, incorporate new suggestions, and create a document for newcomers to online science communication. In addition to best practices, it would be useful to provide scientists with a “layman’s guide to social media” – what outlets are good for what kind of information, the most popular (and informative) tools, how to make your life easy in managing them all (programs like tweetdeck, linking posts, etc)

Next generation scientific society and conference – (discussion) – Scicurious and Donna Krupa

The most interesting scientific meetings for the participants are small, with lots of time for informal interactions and discussion of not-yet-published results. They sometimes happen in remote or unusual locations and are often funded by foundations or agencies rather than scientific societies. Such meetings have many drawbacks that go against the principles of open science — they encourage cliques, exclude many people who may be interested, and may fail to make a broad impact outside the participants. The documents that come out of such meetings, often edited volumes running hundreds of dollars, look good on a shelf but have little urgency or value. Journalists and the public may not even know that an interesting meeting is happening! This session will explore ways to create hybrid conferences, that combine the focus of a small meeting with a broader communication and publication strategy. The questions include: When is streaming media useful? How best to integrate remote participants? What kind of video product after the conference is most useful? How can a small meeting accomplish open access publication? What kind of advance timeline is necessary to catalyze the participants? How can such meetings be leveraged for outreach opportunities? Discussing how scientific societies and other scientific non-profits can work with science bloggers to increase the outreach potential of both. More organizations are becoming interested in recruiting bloggers, and many scientist bloggers are interested in blogging meetings related to their interests. We are interested in bringing the two together, and sharing our experiences as bloggers who blog meetings, and as organizers for societies that have worked with bloggers. How are bloggers different from mainstream reporters? Why should an organization work with one? How should organizations work with bloggers in terms of registration, setup, and facilitating their work? From the blogger’s end, what are organizations looking for in science bloggers, and what should we expect from the organization? What are best practices of blogging conferences? How do you approach an organization about blogging for one of their meetings?

Why the resistance to science blogging? (discussion) – Pascale Lane and Holly Bik

Many scientists and journal editors actively dismiss and denigrate all scientists who blog. They argue that bloggers are anonymous, untrustworthy, engage in ad hominem attacks, have no authority, and cannot (indeed, should not) be considered to be part of the scientific record. This session could examine ways to change the culture within peer-reviewed journals in particular that accepts – maybe even encourages! – the usefulness of blogging and other online discussion. How can bloggers change the attitude of journal editors, editorial boards, and reviewers? Can blogging, post-publication peer review, and other online activities be brought into the fold as part of the scientific record?

Learn more:

Planning Wiki
Draft Program
See who’s registered
Waitlist sign-up
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#scio12 hashtag
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Twitter list of participants
Previous conferences
Nice things people said about ScienceOnline2010
ScienceOnline2011 on YouTube
ScienceOnline2011 on Flickr
ScienceOnline2011 official recordings

Previously in this series:

What is: ScienceOnline2012 – and it’s coming soon!
ScienceOnline participants’ interviews
Some updates on #scio12, #NYCscitweetup, Story Collider and more.
Updates: ScienceOnline2012, Science blogging, Open Laboratory, and #NYCSciTweetup
ScienceOnline2012 – we have the Keynote Speaker!
Mathematics – Algebra and Statistics and more – at ScienceOnline2012
Information, data and technology at ScienceOnline2012
Health and Medicine at ScienceOnline2012
Education at ScienceOnline2012
Movies and Video at ScienceOnline2011
Sound and Music at ScienceOnline2012
Visual Communication at ScienceOnline2012
Submissions for the Cyberscreen Science Film Festival are now OPEN!

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