Of mice and media: Rethinking how we cover basic science

Of mice and media: Rethinking how we cover basic science

Basic science drives the advances in biology and medicine that change our lives. Yet much of the research that lays the foundation for major discoveries goes uncovered. Journalists instinctively balk at mouse studies or research without a clear application in sight. Public information officers struggle to highlight innovative early work while tempering internal and external expectations. Now, with advances in genomics, microscopy, and other technologies, scientists are advancing our knowledge of biology at an extraordinary pace. Can we find ways to make news of these important developments as compelling and intrinsically interesting to our audiences as the latest dinosaur discovery or newly found exoplanet? This session will examine the mindset and structural barriers that constrain reporting on early advances in the life sciences. Our panel of journalists and PIOs will provide examples of strategies and stories that have worked despite the obstacles and discuss new methods and tools to deliver basic science news. We'll also address legitimate concerns of how hype can undermine the credibility of such coverage. Importantly, we invite attendees to bring their own stories of success or frustration and join a conversation toward rethinking our approach to this important science beat.

Time:
Saturday, October 26th, 10:30 am to 11:45 am
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Location:
Assembly
Speaker(s):
Daniela Hernandez
  Digital science editor, the Wall Street Journal, New York, N.Y.
Karen Kreeger
  Senior science communications manager, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
Alexandra Sifferlin
  Deputy editor, Elemental; contributing editor "OneZero" on Medium, New York, N.Y
Vanessa Wasta
  Communications manager, basic science research, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore Md.
Moderator(s):
Ron Winslow
  Freelance writer, Hales Location, N.H.
Michele Berger
  Science news officer, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
Organizer(s):
Ron Winslow
  Freelance writer, Hales Location, N.H.
Vanessa Wasta
  Communications manager, basic science research, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore Md.
Pete Farley
  Director of Communications for Research and Education, UC San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif.