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

Susan Kirk skirk at iprimus.com.au
Fri Nov 15 02:14:40 UTC 2013


Like I said, please keep it on the list.

S


Oh Susan, I was just using the same sort of language others had and being
less conservative with words to express things with the same passion you
were. I disagree that this means others will feel uncomfortable to post. IN
fact, your comments might do the same.

Let's not go down this path.... as you say it is counterproductive.


Jess Tyler
SciBiz Media & Communications
M: 0408 298 292


On Fri, Nov 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM, Susan Kirk <skirk at iprimus.com.au> wrote:
> Firstly, I'm sorry that you (Jesse) feel I'm bagging the organisation and
> that you need to 'bite'.  I don't think that's a fair comment at all. I also
> feel this is counterintuitive to this discussion and to other members
> feeling comfortable commenting. On the other hand I admire your passion for
> the group and to some extent I second it.  Otherwise I wouldn't bother.
> 
> As for your comments about volunteers I put my hand up for the code of
> ethics last year at the AGM and went to a great deal of work to collate
> information, including that draft by Julian, which, he, went to some trouble
> to produce.  I expected some sort of discussion at the meeting but it was
> taken out of general discussion and given to the executive to work on.  I've
> not heard one word since.  Maybe I missed the initial discussions Rod is
> talking about?  But wasn't it common knowledge that I had indicated my
> interest?  Why not contact me directly?  I also wonder if it was all so hard
> why not introduce what Julian put together?
> 
> I also volunteered to be the Queensland web editor where I was told that I
> would be provided updates for posting.  I received one or two initially and
> since then nutter.  I try to post regular things, but the website is such a
> mess with no real direction in terms of plan or comms strategy, its
> difficult. I also have concerns about the look of the website and the adhoc
> manner of posting and formatting.  I know this is probably another way for
> us to gain input, but I don't think it works.
> 
> if we keep using the 'we are only a volunteer association banner' how can we
> strive for professionalism. It also raises the question of how well our $s
> are being spent.  I'm not sure I can afford another rise, especially if
> nothing changes.  Having said that I would rather see an increase in fees
> for a better organisation, than paying a minimal fee for what? Especially if
> I unsubscribe to the Scope and ASC list as Jesse suggests.
> 
> 
> There has been a lot of talk about membership drives?  What is happening
> there?  Also what is happening to the GM position?
> 
> I just think that some of the things that are lacking are really basic
> things like communication in which we should be excelling.
> 
> S
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
>> > There are at least 2 main reasons the pursuit of a code of ethics (and
>> > related) for the ASC has stalled recently that I can see.
>> >
>> > (1) The ASC is run by one part timer and a tiny band of volunteers.
>> >
>> > When I became Prez last year, one of my key ?platforms' was to push for a
>> full
>> > and frank conversation for such a code, and link it directly to an ASC-wide
>> > conversation about professionalisation. This began well early this year,
>> > driven by one of the 2 new VPs (my colleague, Will Grant). While some
>> people
>> > did offer interesting and useful thoughts early on in the process,
>> responses
>> > were a little underwhelming.
>> >
>> > The impression could be drawn that in fact not too many members were
>> genuinely
>> > that interested.
>> >
>> > But the bigger issue that stalled the conversation about ethics etc was my
>> > being struck down in April by nasty medical matters and having to step down
>> > not just as President, but from the any useful role in the executive.
>> Losing
>> > even a single person from the executive has a significant effect on
>> workloads.
>> > Claire was brave and very generous to step up from VP to act as President,
>> and
>> > all the exec began working from that point with one less person - a
>> > significant drop in human resources.
>> >
>> > I think everyone needs to remember that while it?s easy (and not
>> unreasonable)
>> > to suggest ?the ASC' should do things (as I have done myself in the past),
>> > it?s very easy to forget that the only permanent and paid ASC person is
>> Kali,
>> > and she is officially very much a part timer (though she works above and
>> > beyond, without pay, all the time). Everyone else is a volunteer, with the
>> > roles often changing hands year-to-year. It certainly can make it difficult
>> to
>> > get coherent and sustained action going.
>> >
>> > (2) Improvements and (some surprise) changes to the internal workings of >>
the
>> > ASC in 2013.
>> >
>> > This year has seen the introduction of a new and vastly more functionally
>> rich
>> > IT back-end to the ASC?s workings, as well as a new-look shiny version of
>> > Scope (with a new editor). It took all of Kali?s official time (and then
>> some)
>> > just to work with the IT stuff, better yet continue to handle the
>> day-to-day.
>> > When you add in the organising of the conference for 2014, time disappears
>> > fast!
>> >
>> > There were also a few things about the way in which the ASC was set up that
>> > needed tweaking, and thus required a lot of research and investigation
>> (thanks
>> > to Kali, Pete W, Claire and Jesse). On top of this, Claire (with the comm?s
>> > team) was already working hard to massage and improve internal
>> communication
>> > before she stepped into my role. Her old responsibilities didn?t disappear,
>> > she just added a bunch more!
>> >
>> > The bottom line, I believe, is that there would be a lot of good to be had
>> in
>> > moving the ASC towards having a recognisable code of ethics for the reasons
>> > Julian, others (and I) have argued before.
>> >
>> > However, what needs to be considered as an Association is (a) how much we
>> > really want it, and (b) if we do want it, how much people prepared to do to
>> > get us there.
>> >
>> > In short - if you want new and good things out of the ASC, it?s going to
>> take
>> > people raising their hands to help get them done. That, or pay a
>> significantly
>> > higher membership fee to have an employed exec/ secretariat.
>> >
>> > Hope this helps add useful background folks,
>> > Rod
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > On 15 Nov 2013, at 9:51 am, JCribb <jcribb at work.netspeed.com.au> wrote:
>> >
>>> >> I second Susan?s remarks, especially (at the risk of repetition) about
>>> the
>>> >> need for a professional ethics code for science communicators. I have >>>
been
>>> >> pushing this for 5 years or more now, but it seems to have stalled
>>> >> completely. Don?t you guys believe in having ethical standards?
>>> >>
>>> >> An ethics code is not just there to provide guidance to science
>>> communicators
>>> >> ? it is also intended to protect you from unethical requirements imposed
by
>>> >> your employer, eg when they ask you to write something which you know in
>>> your
>>> >> heart is just marketing hype or even misinformation, not fact-based
>>> science.
>>> >> Far too many communicators are treated by their organisations and
>>> managers as
>>> >> spin merchants, rather than as knowledge sharers, and we need to defend
>>> the
>>> >> ideal of sharing human knowledge in an objective, unbiased way.
>>> >>
>>> >> As universities, especially, become more commercial their behaviour comes
to
>>> >> resemble that of corporations: the communications function is subsumed
>>> into
>>> >> marketing, promotion, advertising and PR. It is directed at making money
>>> for
>>> >> the institution rather than educating society. Ditto for a great many
>>> >> government comms functions nowadays ? what used to be public information
>>> has
>>> >> been translated into political propaganda by the grubby realpolitik of
>>> today.
>>> >> Science agencies, too, are driven more by the need to appease political
>>> and
>>> >> commercial paymasters rather than inform, educate, enlighten and account
to
>>> >> the Australian people for how they invested our tax science dollars.
>>> >>
>>> >> Those are valid professions ? but they are not science communication, and
>>> >> they are not out job. We need to make clear the distinction, and have a
>>> >> written code that explains it not only to ourselves, but to anyone who
>>> tries
>>> >> to misuse us. Or else we will end up being a despised subset of the
>>> >> advertising industry.
>>> >>
>>> >> Attached is the draft I originally submitted to ASC in 2008.
>>> >>
>>> >> Over to you!
>>> >>
>>> >> Julian Cribb FTSE
>>> >> Julian Cribb & Associates
>>> >> ph +61 (0)2 6242 8770 <tel:%2B61%20%280%292%206242%208770>  or 0418 639
>>> 245
>>> >> Email: julian at cribb.net.au
>>> >> Web: www.sciencealert.com.au/jca.html
>>> <http://www.sciencealert.com.au/jca.html>
>>> >> Skype: julian.cribb
>>> >>
>>> >> From: ASC-list [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of
>>> Susan
>>> >> Kirk
>>> >> Sent: Friday, 15 November 2013 9:23 AM
>>> >> To: 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.
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >> S
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >> 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
>>> >> 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.?
>>> >>
>>> >> <SciComm Charter 1.doc>_______________________________________________
>>> >> ASC-list mailing list
>>> >> list at asc.asn.au
>>> >> 
>>> 
http://www.asc.asn.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=97&Itemid=115
>> >
>> >
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>> >
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>> > Australian National Centre for Public Awareness of Science (CPAS)
>> > A Centre for the National Commission of UNESCO
>> >
>> >
>> > Office G10
>> > Physics Link Building (#38a)
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>> > The Australian National University
>> > Canberra ACT 0200
>> >
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>> >
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>> > Cricos Provider #00120C
>> >
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