Professional Development Grant: Science Features


The 2015 ASC Professional Development Grant I received, for which I am very grateful, enabled me to complete a journalism course on feature writing through the Extension program at the University of California, Berkeley.

I work as a science writer for the Queensland Brain Institute, which is based at The University of Queensland. My role there involves communicating neuroscience knowledge and research news through a variety of channels, ranging from social media through podcasts to press releases.

Of the science communicator/science journalist divide, about which Bianca Nogrady wrote an excellent ASC piece last year, I’d likely sit in the communicator camp: I didn’t study journalism at university, and prior to my UC Berkeley course, I had no significant reporting experience.

In this golden age of distraction, with our 24-hour news cycle and the shift to online media consumption, with social media and the rising dominance of mobile Internet usage, attentions spans have steadily been eroded and information is reduced to as small as tweet-sized chunks. It isn’t uncommon to read a 400-word piece of science news that is little more than a fleshed-out media release.

Despite all this, the feature as a journalistic form is far from dead: the success of publications like The New Yorker signals that the demand for long-form, well researched reportage is as great as ever. Features get down to the nitty-gritty of a subject, whether it’s CRISPR gene editing or tardigrades, where shorter news pieces don’t have the scope to do so. The devil is in the details, after all.

So it was partly to expand my skillset, and partly out of interest in the feature as a journalistic form, that I chose the UC Berkeley course. The ten-week online program took us through the basics of writing a feature, from conception to pitch.

The required reading for the course was William Blundell’s The Art and Craft of Feature Writing, which is based on the Wall Street Journal guide—it’s a fantastic resource that I’d highly recommend to anyone who is interested in testing out or improving their feature-writing abilities. The book is a good guide to the entire process, from generating ideas (start with general topics of interest and brainstorm potential specific stories from there), to shaping the direction of a story (conflict always makes things interesting!) to self-editing (let your written piece rest for a while and then read it again with fresh, reader’s eyes). The course co-ordinator was herself a freelance journalist, and also gave great advice and feedback when it came to writing, as well as pitching editors.

The course had weekly assessment that culminated in the submission of a 1500–word feature article. I wrote a tech piece on ethical hackers, which I successfully pitched to The Atlantic’s science editors. The feature was fascinating to research, and I was lucky enough to interview individuals ranging from a hacker in the Philippines to a former counterterrorism analyst at the NSA.

When I talk to ‘non-sciencey’ friends, I am occasionally surprised by the discrepancy between what a layperson knows and what most people with a science background consider as being basic information. Well written, engaging science feature articles are a great way to make science accessible and bridge the knowledge gap, and I’d recommend the UC Berkeley course to anyone interested in writing them.

ScienceAlert: science communication for the masses

Earlier in the year I won a grant from the Australian Science Communicators to fly down to Sydney, and spend some time with the ScienceAlert team.

ScienceAlert has over seven million fans on Facebook. They have over 1000 views at any one time on their website. They are one of the leading science communication channels in this country, and yet the team is just three hard working writers, two freelancers and a programmer who keeps everyone together.

The team was nothing like I expected. Having just spent a week with the ABC as an intern, and one day a week at Brisbane Times earlier this year, I was expecting the science version of that. An office in the heart of Sydney, 10-20 employees all working hard to make science content for the masses. Probably taking shifts to ensure content was always being generated. Instead, I found a tiny group of incredible writers all working from home, each contributing three or more stories a day to make ScienceAlert what it is.

A Master’s project for one of the founding members, ScienceAlert has become something incredible since it was created in 2004 republishing press releases of Australian research. It has grown a long way since then, taking the Facebook and science communication scenes by storm.

Chris Casella, the managing director, flew up from Canberra to see me in Sydney on the first day and we spent the morning discussing the history, my past work and how ScienceAlert works. Fiona MacDonald, one of the editors was there as well, but she still had two more stories to write that afternoon so she was busily tapping away on her laptop at the coffee shop we were in.

Later that day, when Chris went off to meet with a contact from Google, Fiona and I worked in the coffee shop finding stories, interesting pictures and basically just working out how the ScienceAlert system works.

That night we enjoyed dinner and drinks with the rest of the team, and they were just as kind and interesting as Fiona. It was great to get to meet the whole team, and even after a full day of writing, they still seemed excited to meet me and have a good time.

The next day we spent in an open hire office in Sydney CBD, the team incredibly accommodating with my errors or silly questions. Chris headed back on a plane south, and we got into writing.

Surprisingly, I felt like my most intense three days were not the days in Sydney, but instead the days I spent at home, working with them from a laptop.

Since that morning in the office, I have done close to six original articles, one that has been posted on ScienceAlert and about the same amount of reposts of Business Insider and the Conversation, two of their business partners. One of the original articles has been published, and there are more on the way.

I’m finally adjusting to the style guide and the quick paced nature of online publication, and I love it.

ScienceAlert definitely wasn’t what I was expecting and I think it’s better.

The demise of science journalism and rise of science communication?

Are you a science journalist or a science communicator?

For people outside the science communication sphere, this question might seem like an exercise in splitting hairs, but for those of us whose day-to-day lives are embedded in this arena, it’s actually quite important.

However it can be difficult to find clear, unassailable points of distinction that distinguish science journalists from science communicators. Is it who’s paying? Is it the determination of an underlying message? These seem like obvious answers but the often strong underlying agendas of publishing companies make things less clear-cut.

And so it was that we (being the Australian Science Communicators NSW branch) recently assembled a crack team of science journalists and science communicators to help find the answer. Our panel event featured ABC Science editor and journalist Dr Anna Salleh, Regional Executive Editor at Nature Publishing Group Stephen Pincock, media/communications manager for the UNSW Faculty of Science Deborah Smith, and former Sydney Morning Herald science editor Nicky Phillips, now at Nature.

It turns out that the intersection between science journalism and science communication is complex and messy and –particularly in this new era of online media –more important to debate than ever.

The reason is that science journalism – being defined as the kind of ‘objective’, critical reporting and analysis that our panel is most experienced in – is on the decline, at least in the mainstream media. There are fewer dedicated science journalists and editors, and instead the job of writing about science and scientific discoveries is often given to general reporters.

This is not to say these people don’t do a good job, but it means there’s a greater risk that a science story will be a rehashed press release, will be sensationalised, will be click-bait, because the reporter doesn’t have the experience to know that a study in ten people is not the final word, that a cancer cure in mice does not translate to a breakthrough in humans, or that a fifty per cent increase in relative risk does not mean everyone has a one in two chance of getting the disease.

What we are seeing instead is a lot more good quality, well-written science communication going on. Defining exactly how this differs from science journalism is tricky, but science communication covers everything from the Neil Degrasse Tysons and Derek Mullers of this world to the I F**king Love Science website to science blogs to podcasts like Science Vs.

We’re also seeing research organisations investing more time and money into producing high-quality communications about their science. It may be a glossy, self-produced magazine produced by a custom publishing company, written by journalists, illustrated with professional photographs. Even mainstream publishing companies such as Nature Publishing Group are providing that service independent of their traditional publishing arm.

This rise in ‘native content’ – advertising content designed to match its publishing surroundings – does create some dilemmas both for publishers and journalists. If the content is not clearly marked as being paid for, it risks diluting the publisher’s brand, which means publishers like Nature take a very ‘church and state’ approach to their traditional and custom publishing arms. For journalists, particularly freelances, it can lead to conflicts of interest if one is asked to write a critical news piece about a research organisation that one also writes content for.

More than ever before, there is a wealth and diversity of great science communication happening, mostly online but also in print, audio and on TV, by experienced science communicators who present the science in context and in proportion.

From the perspective of a more science-literate community – something I wholeheartedly support – this is an overall positive development. As a freelance writer, it is also the source of a good chunk of my income, as research organisations look to science journalists to help develop this content to appeal to a general audience.

The downside to this transition away from science journalism to science communication is that we are likely to see less of the critical, independent reporting and analysis that science – as with any other human endeavour – should be subject to. It still happens in science magazines such as Science, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American and Cosmos (long may they survive and thrive). But here again, the internet is delivering new approaches that don’t rely on the traditional publishing model, such as the Retraction Watch website.

I’ve been asked a few times lately if science journalism is dying in Australia. The short answer is ‘no’. The long answer is that it’s not dying, but it is undergoing a metamorphosis. What will emerge on the other side of this process is anyone’s guess. Most likely we will see a far a greater diversity of science communication choices available for the general public, but like all things internet, the challenge will be sifting the gold from the dross.

If you want to see the video of our science journalism vs science communication panel, watch it here.

Stories from the Interview Booth—Carbon capture and storage meets dairy farmers

Thank you to Michelle Wheeler for preparing this story from the booth!


As science communicators, we all love to share the latest exciting research and the stories of the scientists who make it their life’s work.

But what if the science itself was dependent on direct help from your audience?

A carbon capture and storage group has formed an unlikely working relationship with dairy producers in Victoria after discovering that the perfect place to research the geological storage of carbon lay beneath their farms.

Geologists at the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) began looking closely at the Otway Basin in south-west Victoria as a site for research in 2004 after an Australia-wide search.

The site had the right kind of rocks for carbon storage in addition to a natural source of carbon dioxide generated by volcanic activity millions of years ago.

The only problem was that the lush, green area was covered with small dairy farms.

CO2CRC communications and media advisor Tony Steeper said a lot of work had been done to engage the local farmers.

“We’ve had to bring the landowners with us on a journey, if you like, to undertake the first storage demonstration in Australia,” he said.

“They’ve had to understand how CO2 storage works, how we monitor it, how we know it’s safe, how we characterise the geology so that we’ve got confidence that it’s all going to work.

“That’s been a long process but they’ve been incredibly receptive and very positive.”

Mr Steeper said seismic surveys were particularly difficult for farmers because the scientists had to lay out a grid of sensors across their paddocks and deploy a vibration truck that stopped every twenty metres or so.

“They’ve got to move their cows, they’re worried about crops if they’re growing crops, they’ve got scientists running all over their land so it’s a fairly challenging thing for us to do,” he said.

CO2CRC conducted social research in 2006 and 2011, undertaking focus groups and telephone surveys to see what they were doing well and where they needed to improve.

“One of the things that we got right was employing a community liaison officer, based in the local community, that provides a point of contact for the farmers to go to,” Mr Steeper said.

The centre also distributes a local newsletter and holds public meetings and annual open days.

Mr Steeper said it turned out the scientists had a lot to learn about the dairy industry as well.

“We have had issues in the past where researchers have left gates open and so on and it hasn’t gone so well,” he said.

“Running pre-survey inductions for every researcher that emphasise two-way respect has meant the farmers are pleased with how we operate and the researchers have a better understanding of the requirements of the farmers.”

Stories from the Interview Booth—A disease of poverty

Stories from the Interview Booth showcases some of the most interesting tales presented at the #ASC14 Conference Interview Booth. Thank you to Michelle Wheeler for sharing these stories!

Since being diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease at the age of seven, Carlisa Willika has had four major heart operations.

The 13-year-old has a mechanical heart valve, takes daily blood-thinning medication, requires penicillin injections every 28 days and can’t play contact sport.

Sadly, rheumatic heart disease is preventable.

“It’s a disease of poverty so in most developed countries it doesn’t exist any more,” RHD Australia communications officer Emmanuelle Clarke said.

“In Australia rheumatic heart disease is most common among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and unfortunately most of the cases occur in children between five and 14 years old.”


Pic credit: An RHD Australia doctor supporting rheumatic heart disease control programs – Emmanuelle Clarke.

Ms Clarke faces a tough job communicating information about a disease that affects almost no one in big cities and developed areas.

Doctors and nurses coming from urban areas can misdiagnose rheumatic heart disease and the fact that most sufferers live in remote communities presents a unique set of challenges.

Acute rheumatic fever is caused by the streptococcus bacteria and enters the body through skin sores or the throat.

Ms Clarke said people usually suffer from aches and swollen joints and the disease causes permanent damage to the valves of the heart.

“Once someone has had an episode of acute rheumatic fever, they usually get it again and again unless they receive penicillin injections every 28 days,” she said.

“With each episode it causes more damage to the valves of the heart, which ends up being rheumatic heart disease.”

Ms Clarke said the condition is linked to poor hygiene and overcrowding in houses.

She said rheumatic heart disease can halve a person’s life expectancy and those dying were often young people in their most productive years.

“I’ve heard a story of a young man playing football in a remote community and dying in the middle of the football game due to a heart attack as a result of rheumatic heart disease,” Ms Clarke said.

According to an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, 98 per cent of cases of acute rheumatic fever in the Northern Territory are in people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and 58 per cent occur in children between five and 14 years old.


Stories from the Interview Booth at #ASC14—They had to run, run, run…

Stories from the Interview Booth showcases some of the most interesting tales presented at the #ASC14 Conference Interview Booth. Thank you to Michelle Wheeler for sharing these stories!

If you were at the ASC14 conference dinner, you’ll know Scottish palaeontologist Professor Flint as a man of brilliant lyrics and tunes you can’t get out of your head.

You’ll know he’s a little eccentric, passionate about the Australian story and has the kind of energy that gets hundreds of science communicators on their feet doing dinosaur actions.

But you might not realise Professor Flint’s creator Michael Mills has been on real fossil digs, spent time hanging out with one of the inspirations for Jurassic Park’s Alan Grant character and calls some of Australia’s leading palaeontologists friends.

Oh, and he’s not actually Scottish.

Mills, who is the creative director of Heaps Good Productions, said the character of Professor Flint came about after he read Tim Flannery’s book The Future Eaters.

He was Australian right up until the final dress rehearsal when Mills walked past a puppet wearing a Tam o’ Shanter and realised that if Professor Flint was Scottish the song “rocks and bones” became “rrrocks ‘n’ boones”.

“All of sudden it became funnier,” Mills said.

“It also allowed Flint to be an outsider saying how cool this stuff is because at times in Australia we’ve got this cultural cringe where we’re a bit shy about raving about some of our stuff.”

If making Professor Flint Scottish was genius, what happened next was just brilliant good luck.

The SA Museum decided to host a palaeontology week, bringing Australia’s best palaeontologists to Mills’ home town of Adelaide just as he had created the character.

Professor Flint became an important part of the event and Mills got to hang out with some of the leading palaeontologists from Australia and around the world.

“For me, part of the buzz was the privilege that you have of sitting in a room at dinner at night with guys like (Jurassic Park inspiration) Phil Currie, (Flinders University Professor) Rod Wells and (Queensland Museum curator) Scott Hocknull and all of the Australian palaeos that have discovered all the stuff because in the end it’s their stories that I’m telling,” he said.

“And they impressed upon me the importance of getting the content right.”

Mills has since gone on fossil digs at Emu Bay, been shown museum collections closed to the public and sends his lyrics to palaeontologists to check he has them scientifically correct.

In the process he has amassed a depth of knowledge that leads many to mistake his alter ego for a real person.

“We constantly have people seeing Flint as real and that’s because I’ve learnt enough about the palaeo to be able to talk the stuff,” Mills said.

They had to run, run, run, they had to hit top speed,

They had to run, run, there was a dinosaur stampede.








#ASC14 interview booth – FAQs about the mainstream media

Thank you to Michelle Wheeler for sharing her answers to these FAQs with us.

As anyone who attended the ASC Conference in Brisbane this year knows, there was an awful lot going on. So much so, that even as you grabbed a quick coffee or bite to eat during the breaks, you may have noticed science journalist Michelle Wheeler still hard at work in the ‘Interview Booth’.

This new component was designed to give ASC’ers a chance to sit down with a working science journalist, to discuss ideas they might have for a story, get advice on media releases or simply to ask questions and gain some insight into what today’s journalists are up against when it comes to getting a science story out there.

For those who missed out, here are Michelle’s answers to some of the more frequently asked questions at the booth.

What is a typical day like in a newspaper newsroom?

A day in a newsroom can vary a lot depending on the organisation, the day of the week and whether there is late-breaking news, but here’s an example from one newspaper.

Most journalists arrive between 8am and 10am and immediately start ringing contacts, going through emails and generally checking to see what stories might be around that day. Before 10.30am, journalists brief the chief of staff on what is happening in their round and pitch the stories they are planning to focus on. The chief of staff will give some basic direction on which stories they think should be followed up, how long they should be and whether photographs are needed, and may give journalists stories they have come up with as well.

At 11am the chief of staff goes into a morning news conference with the senior editors to discuss the stories journalists are pursuing that day. The section editors, such as the sport, world and business editors, all report on the main stories they are looking at that day and the editor of the paper will add a few stories he would like looked at as well.

About 2.30pm journalists are required to send “newslist messages” to the chief of staff for each of the stories they are working on for the next day’s paper. These notes contain a mock first sentence for the story and the key points as well as the author, length and whether there are any photographs or graphics to accompany the article. These messages are taken into an afternoon news conference where the editor plans out which stories will go on which pages. This finishes about 4pm, at which point the chief of staff often gives final directions to the journalists about their stories.

The absolute latest a journalist would generally be able to file a story and still make the first edition of the paper is about 7pm, with the earliest copies being printed by 7.30pm.  There are later deadlines throughout the night for different editions of the paper to allow for late-breaking news. At any point during the day almost everything planned can go out the window if a huge story breaks.

When is the best time to send a media release?

The best time for most reporters to receive a media release is first thing in the morning, when journalists are calling contacts and looking at what is happening that day. If the release is sent out late in the day it has to be good enough to replace something else for the story to be written because by the next day it is often considered old news.


Should I call journalists to follow up if they haven’t responded to an email release?

This is a point of contention among both journalists and PR professionals and there are going to be plenty of people who disagree with me. As a journalist it is very annoying to constantly receive cold calls from PR officers you don’t know asking why you didn’t call them about a media release for an event totally unrelated to the round you cover. For some reason people organising charity luncheons are particularly bad at this.

On the other hand, it’s great to get calls from media managers you know or have worked with on stories before. Sometimes it’s handy to be able to chat about different angles for new research and even if I know a story isn’t going to run I’ll often ask the media manager about other stories coming up in the future (such as upcoming research or papers and reports due to be published) that I have in my diary.

Be polite – ask if there’s any extra information the journalist needs rather than demanding an explanation for why a story hasn’t been picked up. Don’t call on deadline and don’t get disheartened if journalists don’t always have time to chat.

Should I worry about pictures?

Yes! A fantastic photograph can easily bump a story from page 15 of a newspaper to page three, get it featured online or determine whether the story runs at all. Pictures are particularly important for newspapers in tabloid (compact) format, which the vast majority of major papers in the country now are.

Newspapers will generally choose to take their own photographs if they can but that doesn’t mean they won’t run supplied images occasionally if they are particularly good or of something they couldn’t usually capture themselves. For television it’s worth mentioning any vision opportunities or scientific visualisations you have in the release.

Journos get confident with data with new online training


Lyndal Byford Media Manager Australian Science Media Centre

Lyndal Byford Media Manager Australian Science Media Centre

Some of our nation’s top science journalists and communicators have produced a new online resource to support journalists reporting on complicated scientific issues.

The open-access website called SciJourno ( has been developed to help all journalists and journalism students with their day-to-day science news gathering. It is not just for those on the science round.

When science hits the headlines, whether it’s climate change, vaccination or coal seam gas, journalists increasingly have to get their heads around complicated scientific concepts with few resources and under stringent time pressures.

Liz Minchin, Queensland Editor of and former environment reporter for The Age, said job cuts in the media mean fewer specialist reporters.

“General news reporters are increasingly asked to cover incredibly complex topics, on everything from what causes bushfires, to how the National Broadband Network works,” Ms Minchin said.

“Journalists need to know where to find good experts, what to ask, and how to best communicate what they find out, including through social media. And we also need scientists and technology experts to be able to explain their work and why it matters in clear, plain English.

“There’s a huge public appetite for science stories; the challenge for everyone is to tell those stories well.”

Funded by The Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia programme, it is hoped that SciJourno will be used by working journalists, needing to brush up on their science knowledge as well as post- and undergraduate journalism students and lecturers/teachers of journalism courses.

The topics covered range from what makes a reliable scientific source, through to working with big numbers and data, and what to do when science gets politicised. The six units include videos, practical exercises, tips/tools, links and resource lists.

Contributors to Scijourno include:

  • Paul Willis, Director of the Royal Institute of Australia (and previously a reporter with Catalyst on ABC)
  • Mark Suleau, recently retired from Channel 10 after more than 40 years as a journalist
  • Liz Minchin, currently Queensland editor of The Conversation
  • Graham Readfearn, independent journalist and blogger
  • Natalie Bochenski, a senior Brisbane journalist currently working with Queensland Times.

For media interviews or more information

Dr. Joan Leach, Senior Lecturer in Rhetoric and Science Communication
The University of Queensland, Brisbane
07 3365 3196

Jenni Metcalfe, Director
Econnect Communication, Brisbane
07 3846 7111, 0408 551 866

Lyndal Byford, Media Manager
Australian Science Media Centre, Adelaide
08 7120 8666

Scijourno was a collaborative project between The University of Queensland, AusSMC (Australian Science Media Centre), Econnect Communication, and with advice from the University of Western Australia

How to tell a journo from a spin doctor: an ASC list discussion

Thank you to Jarrod Green for preparing this summary of the ASC list discussion. 

It is one of the most enduring debates in the field of communication: where do the boundaries lie between journalism, PR and other communication roles? The ASC is the latest to tackle this thorny demarcation problem through a discussion on the ASC email list and calls for further debate at the next ASC conference in February.

The recent ASC list discussion shows how differentiating between communication professions can become deeply entangled with questions of independence, ethics and bias.

Best practice journalism was distinguished early in the discussion by its critical and independent stance. Summarising a SciLogs post by Matt Shipman, ASC member Arwen Cross pointed out that sharing news from a single source is not journalism. Good journalists draw on multiple sources and independent experts.  This distinction was supported in the ASC discussion, though members also observed that mainstream journalism often fails to cover science with a critical voice, illustrating that independence doesn’t guarantee investigative reporting.

Pointing to articles by David Carr and Jack Shafer respectively, ASC members Bianca Nogrady and Sarah Keenihan highlighted the tension that can exist between journalism and activism, bringing into question the feasibility (or even the desirability) of totally impartial journalism. Nogrady argued that a pro-science outlook does not diminish the effectiveness of a journalist or their capacity to ask the hard questions.

However, the (im)partiality of journalists was only a minor theme in the ASC discussion compared to the question of bias in other communication professions. One of the most debated topics was whether institutional affiliation necessitates bias. Some ASC members argued that bias (especially spin) is the hallmark of PR and should never be a feature of good journalism or communication. ASC member Jo Finlay argued that science should always be reported honestly and accurately, irrespective of your employer.

Other members highlighted what they saw as the inevitability of bias, emphasising instead the importance of transparency and consistency with audience expectations.  ASC member Adam Barclay wondered whether “communicator” may just be a term used by PR practitioners to “spin” their own job description. Members like Barclay were not troubled by the possibility of biased elements in their work so long as the bias was consistent with their values and ethics. They would sooner leave a job than push a message that they don’t support.

However, for ASC member Niall Byrne, communication professions are distinguished in the first instance by the source of their paycheck and only secondarily by judgments of ethics or bias.

“[If] you’re funded by the subject of your writing (in the broadest sense) it’s not journalism,” he said.

So far discussion has been framed largely in terms of writing for the media, though as ASC Acting President Claire Harris illustrated in her post, science communication covers a broad range of engagement and knowledge brokering activities that include but are not limited to writing for the media. Beyond the question of demarcating journalism from communication and PR, Harris also asks what the word “science” really means at the head of each of these professions.

With the topic now flagged as a potential topic at the ASC 2014 conference, there will surely be some interesting discussion ahead.

Further links

ASC members highlighted various links in the course of discussion, including Kaz Janowski’s editorial at SciDev.Net, which was the impetus for the ASC list discussion (via ASC member Lynne Griffiths). Sarah Kennihan’s open letter to the ASC was a further catalyst for discussion (see also Keenihan’s profiles of journalists and communicators, her comparison of the two, her thoughts on the “death” of journalism, and Jacqui Hayes’ reflections on switching from journalism to PR). For summaries of a related discussion at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Helsinki this year, see these posts by Anne Sasso and Kai Kupferschmidt.


ASC SA event; Dilemmas of science reporting

Australian Science Communicators (ASC SA) Event

*The Dilemmas of Science Reporting*

*/Complexity, risk, and the dissident voice/**//*

*Panellists: **Clare Peddie, Rob Morrison, Susannah Elliot and Rod Irvine.***

*MC- Richard Musgrove,*

*Date: February 15,** 2010*

*Time: **6pm – 8pm*

*Venue:* *RiAUS, The Science Exchange*

*Cost: * ASCSA members: free* (see why & how to join below)

Non members: $10

Non member students: $5

*Bookings: *

* Event Summary*

This is the second ASCSA event of the year and covers several critical areas of science communication.

Given the public (including policy makers) have the right to accurate information, how do scientists/science communicators break down and report complex results in digestible form, without missing vital information or getting the story wrong? Secondly, how does a scientist/communicator approach an interview or story which concerns risk, knowing that the public may use that information to inform lifestyle choices? Lastly, how we deal with dissident voice(s), particularly if the issue involves risk or, equally; how do you get your point across if you are the dissident voice??

Guidelines on Science and Health Communication prepared by the RiGB, The Royal Society and The Social Issues Research Centre are available on

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