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2015 Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists

Application | Eligibility | Past Workshop Agendas | Searchable Alumni List | Alumni Profiles

Global Change in Coastal Ecosystems

June 7 – 12, 2015
University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography

Are you looking for career-changing investigative reporting tools and sources to help you produce compelling environmental stories for your news audience? Do you want a break from daily deadlines and an opportunity to network with journalists from around the world? Metcalf Institute’s 17th 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 fellowship includes travel support, room and board, and career-changing professional training, thanks to the generosity of private donors and the Metcalf Institute endowment.

Apply for the workshop here by February 6, 2015.

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;
  • Measure emerging contaminants, potentially harmful chemicals not currently monitored or regulated;
  • Apply information about rates of ocean acidification from ancient sediments to better understand present-day climate change;
  • Conduct a fisheries survey aboard the URI research vessel Cap’n Bert;
  • 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;
  • Enjoy off-deadline interactions with scientists and cultivate contacts for future reporting;
  • Gain skills and confidence to translate scientific publications for public audiences;
  • Network with professional peers; and
  • Develop story ideas and expert sources.

Metcalf alumni hail from all over the U.S. and other parts of the world including China, Brazil, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, and Israel.  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.”
Allie Wilkinson
Freelance Journalist
2014 Fellow

“The Metcalf training gave me the credibility to ask the right questions.  It gave me a chance to talk to researchers and learn how to determine if a scientific study is valid.”
Emily C. Dooley
Currently a journalism fellow at The Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affairs Researcch
2013 Fellow

Meet the 2014 Fellows  |  Read about the 2014 Workshop  |  Read News Article About 2013 Workshop

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.

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.

Workshop applications must be postmarked by February 6, 2015.
Read about eligibility here.
See a list of Metcalf Institute alumni here.