Today was the first “full” day of the annual meeting for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This year, the meeting is being held in Washington, DC at the Washington Convention Center. It will run until Monday, hosting panel discussions and plenary speakers on a variety of science topics from sustainability to science and society aimed at giving scientists, engineers and journalists a chance to discuss not only the research topics that they explore, but the ways that they communicate their findings to the world.
Throughout the day, I attended portions of 6 sessions. My runaway favorite – “Science Without Borders and Media Unbounded: What comes next?” moderated by Bud Ward from Yale University’s Forum on Climate Change in the Media. The conference program provides the following summary for the discussion:
Climate science and “mainstream” journalism interests are undergoing what some call, in the case of journalism, an “epochal transformation.” The communications challenges facing climate science – manifested in part by widespread misunderstanding on the part of many in the public and their policy-makers – will play out against fundamental changes, shaking the very nature of journalism, communications, and science education communities, with blogs, list serves, and “tweets” increasingly complementing (or are they?) conventional journalism. Climate science and climate journalism in the end need each other if we’re to have a more informed and more engaged citizenry. Steps each sector takes during the coming months and years will help shape public and policy-makers’ understanding of the climate changes we all will face. In this session, one of the nation’s most respected students of modern journalism pairs with two journalism practitioners whose reporting frequently puts them in the public spotlight in responsibly informing the public about climate science and policy. The three share critical insights into navigating climate science communications in this “perfect storm” of an economic, geopolitical, scientific, and environmental issue. They serve up a feast for the climate science expert discussant to kick off an exchange with the audience.Moderator: Bud Ward, Yale Forum on Climate Change and the MediaDiscussant: Kerry Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of TechnologySpeakers:1. Tom Rosensteil, Project for Excellence in Journalism2. Seth Borenstein, Associated Press
Reporting on Climate Change for a Wire Service3. Elizabeth Shogren, National Public Radio
Covering Climate Science and Climate Controversies for National Public Radio
- Communicating Diversity in Science: Implications for Climate Change Denial
- Rethinking Adaptation to a Changing Global Environment
- Powering the Planet: Generation of Clean Fuels from Sunlight and Water
- Mathematics and Our Energy Future
- Samantha B. Joye: Offshore Ocean Aspects of the Gulf Oil Well Blowout
- Deepwater Drilling: A Risk Worth Taking?
- If a Culture of Growth Is Unsustainable, What Should Change?
- Superconductivity: From 1911 to 2021
I won’t be able to attend all of these sessions (too many overlaps) – but, whatever ones I do make it to are sure to be interesting.