[ASC-list] further to recent list conversations

Kali Madden office at asc.asn.au
Thu Sep 12 10:41:03 UTC 2013


Hi All,

Did anybody end up putting forward a session proposal to continue this
conversation at the conference?

There is so much fodder here for an open interactive, debate or facilitated
discussion....

With so many planning to be in attendance in February seems like an
opportunity.

If it were a debate, what would the topic be?

I think I've got a facilitator if you guys can deliver the topic that
promises serious critical debate :-)

Remember submissions are due by Sunday and space is at a premium!

http://www.ascconference.asn.au/index.php/speakers

Cheers,


Kali




On Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 4:03 PM, Bianca Nogrady <bianca at biancanogrady.com>wrote:

> And while we're at it, here's an interesting article from the New York
> Times about the difference between 'journalist' and 'activist', which I
> think has relevance to this discussion:
>
> http://nyti.ms/13SKZnN
>
> This phrase struck a chord with me: "The notion of journalist as political
> and ideological eunuch seems silly, even to some who call themselves
> journalists."
>
> b
>
>
> On 12 July 2013 11:46, Rob Morrison <rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au> wrote:
>
>>  It is, of course, not a case always of being one or the other. In some
>> of my media training sessions with researchers I remind them of that little
>> box on ARC/NHMRC and other grant application forms that says something
>> like: "In 150 words suitable for a general audience, describe your intended
>> project."This requirement is becoming more and more common in grant
>> applications.
>>
>> I have reviewed many of these and, in my experience, it is often the
>> worst bit of thew application, done in a hurry and (one suspects) in great
>> annoyance, and sometimes consisting of no more than a crude cut-and-paste
>> of part of the application itself.
>>
>> Fatal! This may be one of the most important parts of the application as
>> tired reviewers, faced with a stack of applications and little time, will
>> look at this first. If it doesn't capture their attention and enthusiasm,
>> you can imagine in what frame of mind they will plough through the rest of
>> the application, especially when their chief job is in working out who to
>> reject as there are so many more applications than there is money to
>> support them. Why help to rule yourself out at the start by putting you
>> reviewer off?
>>
>> To work well, this box needs to draw on the journalistic skills of
>> brevity, clarity, making an indifferent reader want to engage etc etc. In
>> other words, even if a researcher does no more in science communication
>> that learn how to apply journalistic/science communications skills to this
>> aspect of their research work, they will have gained greatly.
>>
>>  Dr Rob Morrison
>> rob.morrison at flinders.edu.au
>> Phone: (08) 8339 3790
>> Fax: (08)8339 6272
>>   ------------------------------
>> *From:* asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [
>> asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] on behalf of Claire Harris [
>> claireharris.oz at gmail.com]
>> *Sent:* Thursday, 11 July 2013 10:25 PM
>> *To:* Sarah Keenihan
>> *Cc:* Cathy Sage; asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au; Jenni Metcalfe; Adam Barclay
>>
>> *Subject:* Re: [ASC-list] further to recent list conversations
>>
>>  Hiya,
>> I have found this discussion very interesting and it is somewhat
>> comforting to hear that many of us are thinking about these questions :) It
>> is very interesting to reflect ourselves about what it is we are trying to
>> achieve, or what we enjoy in our roles and then consider that against our
>> own ideals and ethics, as Cathy and others have mentioned.
>>
>>  I see some of Sarah's questions best answered through thinking of a
>> cross-weave where we choose the different strands in our weave as we would
>> different colours or textures. For example some could be 'skill strands' -
>> so therefore someone who's a journalist has stronger interviewing,
>> story-telling but perhaps not 'issues management' or 'events management'
>> skills strands. And then these strands overlap with other strands, say the
>> particular discipline strands of health, nanotech, astronomy that we
>> prefer. And then maybe there are the organisational/cultural strands where
>> there might be strands of NGO, advocacy, commercialisation, government - we
>> weigh up whether we like the way they work and whether their code of ethics
>> or principles align with our own. We all choose our weaves based on
>> preferences, opportunities, even the people we like working with.
>>
>>  So, for me, what's particularly interesting, given there are many
>> things that makes us (a gaggle? of science communicators) similar or
>> different to each other, is what are the strongest features of the value we
>> find in being a 'science communicator' or perhaps a science communication
>> observer.
>>
>>  And just to throw another spanner in the works, in discussions with
>> other communicators who work in similar fields to me but don't consider
>> themselves science communicators, the question goes higher than a
>> distinction between science journalism, science communication (science
>> engagement, science knowledge brokering...) as to why is the word 'science'
>> on the front of any of these words in the first place... I think that is
>> very intriguing :)
>>
>>  Oh and I just read Jacqui's blog post and yes, great read!! I've made
>> similar observations over the years.
>>
>>  Ciao
>> Claire
>>
>>
>> On 11 July 2013 13:15, Sarah Keenihan <sarahkeenihan at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> Hi again everyone,
>>>
>>>  It's great hearing personal experiences in relation to this topic.
>>>
>>>  Jacqui Hayes and I have been talking offline on this recently. If
>>> you're interested, she has written a guest piece for my blog on her recent
>>> experience of switching from a journalism position to one in
>>> communications, see: Crossing to the dark side<http://scienceforlife365.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/day-334-crossing-to-the-dark-side/>
>>> .
>>>
>>>  Bye for now,
>>> Sarah
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>  On 11/07/2013, at 12:09 PM, Angela Lush wrote:
>>>
>>>  Hi all,
>>> I've really been enjoying this discussion as its something that I think
>>> about often as well. My work spans science PR/advertising, communication,
>>> education and on occasion journalism. For me, apart from my personal ethics
>>> and bias like the aspects Cathy and Adam mentioned, I try and view the
>>> different forms of communication in the context of audience expectation.
>>> Would the audience expect to be reading a well researched, independently
>>> verified and balanced piece of work (journalism)? Or could they reasonably
>>> expect that some bias might be in place - be it work being shown in the
>>> best possible light - depending on the channel being used and the author or
>>> source of the work (communication/PR)?
>>>
>>>  This can sometimes be a very blurry line (eg advertorials not marked
>>> as such) but I've found that good clients want to be honest with their
>>> audience and in their communication in all forms.
>>>
>>>  Of course this could just be me rationalising my own bias in my client
>>> work!  But I think that good work is beneficial for both the client and the
>>> audience and this responsibility to the audience is an important aspect -
>>> whether it's journalism, communication or PR/advertising.
>>>
>>>  Cheers,
>>>
>>>  Angela
>>>
>>>
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>
>>> On 11/07/2013, at 8:03, Cathy Sage <cathy at sagewords.com.au> wrote:
>>>
>>>  Hi. Good point Sarah... I think it would be worrying if we don't all
>>> concede we all have "bias" of some sort and work from that understanding.
>>> I can live very comfortably with the bias I have... that is to work with
>>> scientists to help them convince people about the value of what they
>>> do..... especially when I find that many feel quite nervous about fronting
>>> the media with science of any complexity even if it's very important that
>>> people out there know. I've walked away from jobs where I've felt
>>> uncommitted and uncomfortable and told them why.... one was the opportunity
>>> 10 years ago to promote to the public the advantages of cloning animals.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Cathy
>>>
>>>  On 10/07/2013, at 8:37 PM, Sarah Keenihan wrote:
>>>
>>>  Hi all,
>>>
>>> Perhaps my choice of the term 'biased' was a little ill-advised...
>>>
>>>  I guess what i was hinting at is the point Adam has raised: generally,
>>> we write about an area of science or work for a client because we feel a
>>> connection/comfortable with it. Is that bias? Not always, especially when
>>> aware of it, but perhaps sometimes it does stray close.
>>>
>>>  With that in mind, I'd still love to hear thoughts on what *is* the
>>> best way to define:
>>>
>>>    - Science journalism
>>>    - Science communication
>>>    - Science PR
>>>
>>>  I'm still grappling with it all, really.
>>>
>>>  Cheers,
>>> Sarah
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>  On 10/07/2013, at 6:37 PM, Adam Barclay wrote:
>>>
>>>   Hello all.****
>>>  ** **
>>>  I *like* to think that I do communication and not PR, but I do
>>> sometimes wonder if that’s just me practising PR on myself given the
>>> not-so-rosy reputation of PR (‘the dark side’ etc) relative to good ol’
>>> unbiased *communication*. I hope that if I found myself working for an
>>> organisation whose messages stuck in my craw, I’d leave. Either: a) I’ve
>>> never been in that position, or b) I’ve convinced myself that I agree with
>>> the messages. I *think* it’s the former, but self-perception is
>>> notoriously unreliable to say the least.****
>>>  ** **
>>>  Cheers,
>>> Adam****
>>>  ** **
>>>   *From:* Jenni Metcalfe [mailto:jenni at econnect.com.au<jenni at econnect.com.au>
>>> ]
>>> *Sent:* Wednesday, 10 July 2013 6:17 PM
>>> *To:* Joanne Finlay; Sarah Keenihan
>>> *Cc:* asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>>> *Subject:* Re: [ASC-list] further to recent list conversations****
>>>   ** **
>>>  Well said Joanne! My thoughts exactly.****
>>>  ** **
>>>  I would certainly hope none of my writing as a journalist or
>>> communicator – depending on what hat I am wearing and I do wear both – is
>>> biased in any particular way.****
>>>  ** **
>>>  I’m not about spinning anything, which is why I like to think I do
>>> journalism or communication and not PR.****
>>>  ** **
>>>  Hmm bet there’s some thoughts on that!****
>>>  ** **
>>>  Jenni****
>>>  ** **
>>>  Jenni Metcalfe****
>>>  Director, Econnect Communication****
>>>  www.econnect.com.au****
>>>  phone: 07 3846 7111; 0408 551 866****
>>>  jenni at econnect.com.au****
>>>  skype: jenni.metcalfe****
>>>  twitter: @JenniMet****
>>>  PO Box 734 South Brisbane Q 4101****
>>>  subscribe to Econnect's free monthly e-newsletter:
>>> http://www.econnect.com.au/news_newsletter.htm****
>>>  ** **
>>>  <image001.png> <https://twitter.com/#!/econnectteam>  *<image002.png>*<http://www.facebook.com/pages/Econnect-Team/157913364253434>
>>>  ****
>>>  ** **
>>>   *From:* asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au [
>>> mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au<asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au>
>>> ] *On Behalf Of *Joanne Finlay
>>> *Sent:* Tuesday, 9 July 2013 9:48 PM
>>> *To:* Sarah Keenihan
>>> *Cc:* asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>>> *Subject:* Re: [ASC-list] further to recent list conversations****
>>>   ** **
>>>  Hi Sarah****
>>>   ** **
>>>   I think the questions you raise are really important. ****
>>>   ** **
>>>   I am curious though about your presumption that writing as a
>>> communicator for a science institutions requires taking a 'somewhat biased'
>>> position.****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>   Can one person effectively swap from writing as a journalist (for
>>> example, for a newspaper) to writing as a communicator (for example, for a
>>> science institution)?
>>>                         i.e. is switching from relatively unbiased to
>>> somewhat biased writing a comfortable transition?****
>>>   ** **
>>>   I have always taken the view that science communicators can and
>>> should honestly and accurately report the science, no matter who we work
>>> for. The hard part is in ensuring the institution or spokesperson you are
>>> writing for doesn't claim more credit for the science than is their due. In
>>> my view it is possible to do this, and although difficult not impossible to
>>> keep all parties happy. That's where being ethical as a science
>>> communicator comes in.****
>>>   ** **
>>>   All sounds like good ASC conference fodder.****
>>>   ** **
>>>   Cheers****
>>>   ** **
>>>    Jo Finlay****
>>>   Journalist, writer and science communicator****
>>>    ** **
>>>   On 08/07/2013, at 4:03 PM, Sarah Keenihan wrote:****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>
>>> Dear fellow members of the Australian Science Communicators,
>>>
>>> Like Lynn and Bianca, I too am very interested in considering
>>> perpectives on science journalism and science communication, and how the
>>> two interrelate.
>>>
>>> It interests me on a personal level because I’m trying to work out where
>>> I fit along the science writing continuum. However of course there are also
>>> bigger implications. Implications for:****
>>>              • How we (the people who talk about science) define our
>>> goals;****
>>>               • How we, governments and consumers make decisions about
>>> who pays for communication and journalism content;****
>>>               • How the public interprets material with a scientific
>>> flavour; and****
>>>               • Whether this material has the desired or indeed any
>>> impact.****
>>>   ** **
>>>
>>> I’ve written a few blog posts in recent weeks trying to get my brain
>>> around aspects of this. (If you’re interested, it started with Journalism
>>> is dead?<http://scienceforlife365.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/day-318-journalism-is-dead/>,
>>> then progressed to Journalism versus communication<http://scienceforlife365.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/day-320-journalism-versus-communication/> and
>>> finally resulted in this duo: Profile of a science journalist<http://scienceforlife365.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/day-321-profile-of-a-science-journalist/>
>>>  and Profile of a science communicator<http://scienceforlife365.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/day-322-profile-of-a-science-communicator/>.
>>> Of course my descriptions are not perfect – please add comments if you feel
>>> so inspired).
>>>
>>> Whilst I’ve found the process of writing these posts helpful in
>>> clarifying my own thoughts, of course now I have more questions.
>>>
>>> What I’m really interested in is the intersection of the two
>>> specialities, communication and journalism. Here are some issues which
>>> plague me:****
>>>              • In writing and reading job definitions or descriptions,
>>> how can one distinguish between a ‘science journalist’ and a ‘science
>>> communicator’?****
>>>               • Can one person effectively swap from writing as a
>>> journalist (for example, for a newspaper) to writing as a communicator (for
>>> example, for a science institution)?
>>>                         i.e. is switching from relatively unbiased to
>>> somewhat biased writing a comfortable transition?****
>>>               • Is it important that science writers themselves have an
>>> awareness of the difference between science journalism and science
>>> communication?****
>>>               • How can readers of science writing tell the difference
>>> between science journalism and science communication?****
>>>   ** **
>>>  Related questions are being raised in other arenas as well: see this
>>> piece by Matthew Ingram entitled Thanks to the web, journalism is now
>>> something you do – not something you are<http://scienceforlife365.wordpress.com/Thanks%20to%20the%20web,%20journalism%20is%20now%20something%20you%20do%20%E2%80%94%20not%20something%20you%20are> which
>>> explores the relationships between advocacy/activism and journalism.
>>>
>>> Getting back to the ASC, are these questions important for us to
>>> consider as a community of people who talk about science in public spaces?
>>> I think yes, and I’m hoping this may come up as a potential topic for the
>>> ASC conference in February 2014. In addition to hearing from communicators
>>> and journalists who are ASC members, it’d be great to invite ‘outsiders’
>>> along to get their perspectives as well.
>>>
>>> I’m looking forward to the conference.
>>>
>>> Regards,
>>>
>>> Sarah****
>>>
>>> Sarah Keenihan
>>> PhD | BMedSci | GradDipSciComm****
>>>   Reading, writing and interpreting science. And other stuff.
>>>
>>> 0419 976 834 | @sciencesarah | http://sciencesarah.wordpress.com/****
>>>   ** **
>>>   Special Project: Science For Life.365****
>>>   http://scienceforlife365.wordpress.com|
>>> http://www.facebook.com/scienceforlife365****
>>>   ** **
>>>     ** **
>>>  ** **
>>>  ** **
>>>  ** **
>>>  ** **
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>  ** **
>>>   On 05/07/2013, at 7:40 AM, Bianca Nogrady wrote:****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>  Thanks for posting this Lynne - it's an interesting read.****
>>>  ** **
>>>   At the risk of opening a can of worms, I'm intrigued by the fact that
>>> a number of science journalists take the stand that they are not a 'cheer
>>> squad' for science, as Pallab Ghosh is described as saying in this article.
>>> ****
>>>   ** **
>>>   I understand very well that the job of a good science journalist is
>>> to ask the hard questions, to look critically at the data, to ask where the
>>> money come from and not to assume that science is truth.****
>>>   ** **
>>>   But this assertion that one is not a cheerleader for science feels
>>> almost like a statement of emnity, like we have to take a stand against the
>>> hordes of pom-pom waving fanatics.****
>>>   ** **
>>>   Isn't it possible to be both? I'm proud to proclaim that I'm an
>>> unrepentant science nerd. I love science and the process of scientific
>>> discovery and the knowledge that comes from that, and I'm always raving to
>>> friends about some amazing new bit of info I've discovered.****
>>>   ** **
>>>   I'm very happy to stand up and trumpet 'Hooray for Science!' but I
>>> don't think this makes me any less of an effective journalist.****
>>>   ** **
>>>   I'd be really interested to know people's thoughts on this.****
>>>   ** **
>>>   Bianca****
>>>
>>> ** **
>>>  On 5 July 2013 07:26, Griffiths, Lynne <Lynne.Griffiths at nwc.gov.au>
>>> wrote:****
>>>  Hi ASC
>>>
>>> SciDev.Net has launched a new-look website -
>>> http://www.scidev.net/global/.  Their latest editorial features a
>>> discussion on science journalism and communication in the global context -
>>> http://www.scidev.net/global/communication/editorial-blog/science-journalism-and-communication-make-a-good-match.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=SciDev.Net&utm_campaign=2679242_Launch+email+EN&utm_content=KazEditorial&dm_i=1SCG,1LFBE,AZRIZP,5IAH7,1
>>>
>>> There are related articles that may be of interest -
>>> http://www.scidev.net/global/communication/
>>>
>>> Cheers
>>>
>>> Lynne Griffiths
>>> Director, Communication and Parliamentary Liaison
>>> National Water Commission
>>> T 02 6102 6023   M 0412 786 945
>>> lynne.griffiths at nwc.gov.au
>>> nwc.gov.au
>>>
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>>> ********************************************************
>>> *Freelance science journalist, author and broadcaster*****
>>>  www.biancanogrady.com, 0411 420 913, Blackheath, NSW, Australia****
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-- 

Kali Madden

Executive Officer, Australian Science Communicators

& ASC Conference Director 2012, 2010


office at asc.asn.au
http://www.asc.asn.au/
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