2015 Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists
Global Change in Coastal Ecosystems
June 7 – 12, 2015
University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
Metcalf Institute’s Annual Science Immersion Workshop gives journalists from all backgrounds and media fresh story ideas, a better understanding of the scientific process, and expert sources by exposing them to the inner workings of science, through hands-on experience in environmental research in the field, laboratory, and conference table.
The workshop offers journalists a timely look at the coastal impacts of global change, preparing them to cover a wide range of environmental issues including climate change, water pollution, and fisheries management.
Metcalf’s longest-running program, the workshop emphasizes basic methods of environmental research, the principles and ethics guiding scientific inquiry, and opportunities to cultivate scientific sources, while deepening participants’ understanding of how environment and the public interest intersect.
The weeklong workshop is held at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, one of the nation’s premier oceanographic research institutions, giving journalists an opportunity to explore and understand the impacts of human activities in coastal ecosystems through off-deadline, one-on-one interactions with leading scientists.
Each year, ten journalists are selected as Metcalf Fellows from a highly competitive pool of applicants. Using Narragansett Bay – the world’s most-studied estuary – as a model ecosystem, Fellows learn how to interpret scientific data and sharpen their investigative reporting skills. During the week in Rhode Island, Fellows:
- gain a greater familiarity with research methods and basic statistics;
- study emerging contaminants, potentially harmful chemicals not currently monitored or regulated by the EPA;
- apply information about rates of ocean acidification from ancient sediments to better understand present-day climate change;
- enjoy off-deadline interactions with scientists and cultivate contacts for future reporting;
- conduct a fisheries survey aboard the URI research vessel Cap’n Bert;
- gain the skills and confidence to translate scientific publications for news audiences;
- explore the development and use of sea level rise models for climate change adaptation;
- attend lectures featuring top national researchers, policy makers, and science communicators;
- network with professional peers; and
- develop story ideas and expert sources.
Metcalf alumni report that this combination of hands-on experience and stakeholder interactions makes for informative, practical, and career-changing professional development.
“The Metcalf Annual Workshop gave me a better understanding of how science is done, what constraints and obstacles researchers face, and how to best convey the scientific process and scientific uncertainty. I now feel more capable in determining whether a source has merit, and came home with an arsenal of new sources in a wide range of areas of expertise.”
Who should apply for Metcalf Institute’s Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists?
The workshop is designed for early to mid-career journalists from all media with a strong interest in improving and expanding their coverage of environmental topics and a desire to gain a better understanding of scientific research through field and lab work. Workshop alumni include reporters, producers, editors, photojournalists, columnists, and documentary filmmakers from around the world and all media types. Fellows are selected from a competitive applicant pool to maximize diversity in journalism experience, medium, audience, geography, race and ethnicity, and gender.
What does the Metcalf fellowship include?
The Annual Workshop fellowship includes tuition, room, board, ground transportation, and travel support of up to US$500 paid after the completion of travel.