Scientists and journalists come from two different worlds. One side is  characterised by a  methodical  and  precise  assessment  of  data  from  close  analysis  over  an  extended  time  period.  The other  side  wants  simple,  direct  and  speedy  answers,  uncluttered  by  qualifying  statements.  The  two groups are mutually suspicious of each other.

Jenni  Metcalfe  and  Toss  Gascoigne  have  spent  six  years  introducing  scientists  to  journalists,  and vice-versa.  Their  workshops  are  called  ”Media  skills  for  scientists”  but  they  could  almost  be  called ”Scientific skills for journalists” because the two groups learn a lot about each other over two days, and this helps break down the walls of mystery which surround the two respective occupations.

This  paper  will  describe  the  highly  practical  nature  of  the  workshops  and  the  guiding  principles under which they are run. It will discuss how scientists change their attitude towards journalists over the course of the workshops, and  show how these changes have been quantified through a  simple ”before and after” survey.


The  workshops  are  conducted  nationally across  Australia  and  have  also  been  run  by  invitation  in South Africa and New Zealand.
 

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Communication skills training for scientists
An international model

Toss Gascoigne   Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies

Jennifer Metcalfe   Econeert Pty Ltd

Scientists and journalists come from two different worlds. One side is  characterised by a  methodical  and  precise  assessment  of  data  from  close  analysis  over  an  extended  time  period.  The other  side  wants  simple,  direct  and  speedy  answers,  uncluttered  by  qualifying  statements.  The  two groups are mutually suspicious of each other.

Jenni  Metcalfe  and  Toss  Gascoigne  have  spent  six  years  introducing  scientists  to  journalists,  and vice-versa.  Their  workshops  are  called  ”Media  skills  for  scientists”  but  they  could  almost  be  called ”Scientific skills for journalists” because the two groups learn a lot about each other over two days, and this helps break down the walls of mystery which surround the two respective occupations.

This  paper  will  describe  the  highly  practical  nature  of  the  workshops  and  the  guiding  principles under which they are run. It will discuss how scientists change their attitude towards journalists over the course of the workshops, and  show how these changes have been quantified through a  simple ”before and after” survey.


The  workshops  are  conducted  nationally across  Australia  and  have  also  been  run  by  invitation  in South Africa and New Zealand.
 

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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