I have had the pleasure of working with professional journalists since the 1990s, because, since I was in high school, I have always held the view that publicly-funded science should be made accessible to the public. And, since I'm a political junkie, I have always seen a connection between science and politics, and the public sphere.
When I returned to the Biology Department, after seven years directing York University's Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability, I began explicitly integrating social media science communication skills to my undergraduate courses, beyond the science communication assignments that I developed in the 1990s and 2000s. I also co-founded a Science Communication Summer Programme at Seneca College, with professional writers, including Professor Burke Cullen, and science journalists, Penny Park and Jim Handman.
I prioritize time for participating in science communication activities, so on March 6, 2019, I participated in two panels about communicating science, that featured journalists. Professor Julie Conder, of York's Faculty of Health organized the first panel of the day (poster above): Issues and Challenges in Science Communication.
This panel featured Dan Falk, the Faculty of Science's current Science Communicator-in-Residence, as well as the incoming Communicator-in-Residence, B.D. Colen, along with Ivan Semeniuk of the Globe and Mail, Genna Buck, with whom I've worked on several occasions, and David Manly, the Manulife Kids Science Co-ordinator from Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. David reminded me that I had taught him as an undergraduate!
Dan hosted a second, smaller panel that evening, in the Faculty of Science. The innovative Science Communicator-in-Residence programme that places him and B.D. Colen at York University, was founded in 2017. It has been a great means of connecting York University scientists with members of the media.
The panels provided a fascinating opportunity to listen to diverse science journalists and professional science communicators reflect on the current challenges that they face. My comment, that I pay for several newspaper subscriptions, was favourable received by the panel members.
In my next post, I will summarize some of the main points from the discussion.
p.s. This my April 1, 2019 Catch-Up Post