[ASC-list] Where's ASC headed? Was science or persuasion

Nancy Longnecker nancy.longnecker at uwa.edu.au
Fri Nov 15 01:41:21 UTC 2013

Yes, I'll bite too. It's great when we get passionate discussion on this list!

Like Jess, I've seen many cycles in ASC and participated in voluntary capacity  through both highs and lows of ASC. My perception is that ASC is currently a healthy and active organisation, albeit small and run by volunteers.

Perhaps my perception is coloured by being member of a currently active branch with regular events coordinated by a small but significant band of enthusiastic members. My perception is also fuelled by being part of behind-the-scenes national activity in lead up to conference. From this perspective, ASC is flourishing.

An aside on the conference: Not everyone can get to them. I couldn't attend the one in Sydney. But the biennial gathering of science communicators for a face to face meeting is crucial. For me, attending the Melbourne PCST conference changed the course of my career. It was an eye opener to realise there were other people who were passionate about communicating science. I know our conferences are unlikely to be life-changing experiences most of the time, but they can have useful and significant influence on development of collaborations, improved professional practice and revitalisation of motivation to continue to make efforts that can otherwise seem unappreciated. They eat up a lot of resources. But least as much effort goes in to local branches.

Depending on where you are, make an effort to go to your branch activities and support the small band of people who are working hard to put on worthwhile activities. What you get out is directly related to what you put in.

Another aside on code of ethics: I strongly agree with Julian's assertion of the importance of a code of ethics. This is something that I see developing at a pace too slow for some but developing nonetheless. Not having an official code of ethics (yet) does not prevent us progressing in parallel with the many fantastic initiatives that are happening around the country.

So the question ASC continues to face is: why pay a relatively low membership fee to be part of a national organisation that is committed to furthering professional development and recognition of those of us who communicate science? I'll post in another email Top 10 Reasons You Should Join ASC that the WA branch came up with years ago (courtesy Brendon Cant, from memory).

Kind regards, Nancy

Professor Nancy Longnecker
Science Communication
School of Animal Biology, M092
The University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, WA   6009

ph: 61 8 6488 3926
nancy.longnecker at uwa.edu.au

skype: nancylongnecker

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From: Jess Tyler <jessyorta at gmail.com<mailto:jessyorta at gmail.com>>
Date: Friday, 15 November 2013 7:48 AM
To: "Ian M." <ianmcd85 at hotmail.com<mailto:ianmcd85 at hotmail.com>>
Cc: Susan Kirk <skirk at iprimus.com.au<mailto:skirk at iprimus.com.au>>, Asc List <asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>>
Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Where's ASC headed? Was science or persuasion

I'll bite too.

AS a founding member and past Exec member, I"ve seen ASC go through many, many iterations of how it presents to the world. Websites, newsletters, ideas for people's pet projects, ideas for great political change, ideas and projects that advance our cause. It all comes and goes in the natural cycle of life in a non-professional volunteer industry representative group.

I've also seen a lot of people not turn up to events or give feedback. Me included. I've seen states work so hard on initiatives that flop through lack of interest. I coordinated here in Tasmania for 14 years and tried every thing I could think of to engage members and I ended up stepping aside because I was exhausted from the effort for no gain and with little support.

I've also seen a lot of people complain but not do anything or volunteer anything.

ASC constantly asks what members want.

And many of us do put up project proposals that don't get acted upon, but this is life. Because it is a voluntary group, with scant resources, and as usual, only the solid few have the energy and drive outside their day jobs to put effort in on a consistent basis.

I have my times of loving/hating ASC, but it has never failed to strive for its objectives, and it is the only group in Australia with a charter to advance the profession of science communication in society. I will always support its existence, even though I don't always support individual tactics. This is part of a growing and developing organisation.

I would happily pay double my membership fee if that meant equipping the nat exec with the resources it needs to reach to the next level. Hell, I'd even triple it. This is my profession and I want to belong to a group of people who are 'my' people.

If you don't like the ASC-media list, or SCOPE, don't subscribe to it - we are a democracy - and see it for what it is: a posting list for media items to whoever wants to look.

If you want to communicate about communicating - go ahead!

But please don't bag out the organisation and the people who work so hard.

Jess Tyler
SciBiz Media & Communications
ASC Founding Member #71

Jess Tyler
SciBiz Media & Communications
M: 0408 298 292

On Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM, Ian M. <ianmcd85 at hotmail.com<mailto:ianmcd85 at hotmail.com>> wrote:
I'll bite....

Knowing a little bit about how the ASC runs, being actively involved over the past 3 years - to post onto the ASC e-lists you need to be a member but to receive the emails posted to the list - you don't...so potentially people who are emailing you back privately aren't members but want to reply?

I agree the list should be about us starting discussions, learning about events in your region and getting advice from those in the field....obviously the media list should be kept to media releases and promoting science.

I hope someone from the exec replies but I know that alot of the things you have suggested such as website and professionalism are well underway and I also look forward to hearing of the progress as well  - potentially at National AGM. Which - just to remind you the ACT branch is hosting on the 29th of November, so hopefully local members can come along if in Canberra.

I disagree with your comment on the Scope Newsletter - what is the justification for saying it's a flop? I thoroughly enjoy recieving it each month and think more members should contribute. Plus I always read a message from the National President giving us updates on national activities - http://www.asc.asn.au/blog/2013/11/02/presidents-update-rocketing-towards-the-end-of-the-year-agm-and-members-abroad/

As for members not being involved in events - the ACT branch ran multiple events this year targeted at members and didn't get a great response - so this is something our committee is working on, the age old question - what do members want?

How do we best target events for our members? Do members want more webinars rather then events you have to physically attend?

We are using ASC money after all to run these, so we want to make sure that members are happy with what we are doing.

As Susan stated, join in, it is a great way to learn from each other - we are all a friendly bunch and if you are worried about posting from your work email - post from a personal email.


Dr Ian McDonald
Science writer and presenter

E:ianmcd85 at hotmail.com<mailto:ianmcd85 at hotmail.com>
M: 0439 746 556
Twitter: @ianmcd85
Skype: ianmcd85

ABN: 91 575 957 824

Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2013 08:23:11 +1000
From: skirk at iprimus.com.au<mailto:skirk at iprimus.com.au>

To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au<mailto:asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
Subject: [ASC-list] Where's ASC headed? Was science or persuasion

I think Charles has a valid point..  ASC is beginning to look like Food4media or TravMedia.

Maybe we should do what some other associations do and charge a premium for these media release postings? They are after all advertising.  I think there are other better places to get media release, AusSMC, Eureka, Google alerts are a few of the places I subscribe and of course science direct topic alerts.

I personally would like to see more communication about communication on this list.  I know you can take the horse to water etc. But why don't members feel comfortable airing their bits on here?  So many times people have responded to me off the list.  I feel like shouting.  Keep it on the list.

I would also like to see more communication from the executive on this list.  We haven't heard anything about the new website.  We keep employing scope editors and the newsletter keeps flopping.  We keep talking about becoming more professional but what's happening to our charter and code of ethics?

Members are not involved in any of the communications for any of the events or funding or anything really, the only communication comes from those few that can be bothered to raise questions or liaise on the list.

I repeat.  We can't operate in a vacuum.

Please don't email me off the list with your replies.  Keep it on the list.


Susan Fairbairn (nee Kirk)   B.comm  freelance Journalist
Member and Queensland Web Editor -  Australian Science Communicators (ASC)
Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA)
tel:+61 7 5478 6761<tel:%2B61%207%205478%206761> | mobile:0414645953 | email:susan at susankirk.com.au<http://susan@susankirk.com.au>
www.susankirk.com.au<http://www.susankirk.com.au> |  Skype: susanakirk | Tweet: @SusanAKirk
Facebook group: Plant Power

“If you don’t ask the right questions you won’t get the right answers.”

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