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Science Communication Workshop: Interviewing with Confidence – Agenda

Workshop Home

July 18, 2017
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Lunch included)
URI Graduate School of Oceanography
Coastal Institute on Narragansett Bay
Hazard Seminar Room
218 South Ferry Road
Narragansett, RI 02882


8:45-9 a.m.   Check-in (coffee available).

9:00-9:15      Welcome and Introductions

9:15-10:45    Introduction to Journalism: What Do Journalists Want From an Interview?
KENDALL MOORE, URI Department of Journalism; ALEX KUFFNER, The Providence Journal
Speakers will provide insights on news values, news “pegs,” the news gathering process, and what makes a good news story compelling to audiences. Presenters will clarify how and when a scientist should pitch an idea to a local or national reporter, how best to prepare for interviews and why it is critical to have clear, concise points ready for your interview. Speakers will show sample news clips to highlight effective and ineffective strategies for communicating science in different interview settings.

10:45-11:00  Break

11:00-3:30    Breakout Sessions: Practicing the Interview

These breakout sessions will allow participants:

  • to feel more comfortable responding to a reporter in front of a camera or microphone;
  • to understand the perspective of the interviewer; and
  • to experience the difference between a scripted and an off-the-cuff interview, which is far more typical.

11:00-12:00  Breakout Session I: Practicing a Scripted Interview
PARTICIPANTS; AVORY BROOKINS, Rhode Island Public Radio; ALEX KUFFNER, The Providence Journal, JASON MARGOLIS, PRI’s The World; KENDALL MOORE, URI Department of Journalism; KAREN SOUTHERN, Metcalf Institute
Participants will be paired for an interactive exercise in which they practice interviewing each other using scripted questions. Interviews should not last more than five minutes. Coaches will provide guidance and feedback. As time allows, participants will repeat the exercise with additional partners and coaches.

12:00-12:45  Lunch

12:45-2:15    Breakout Session II: Practicing an Unscripted Interview
In this session, participants will be interviewed by the journalist coaches. Coaches will conduct a brief 3- to 5-minute interview with each participant, while another participant records using the interviewee’s smart phone. After replaying the interviews, participants and coaches will discuss, with coaches and observers providing constructive input on how the scientist might clarify responses or adjust delivery. Coaches will then conduct a second round of unscripted interviews so that participants can apply what they’ve learned.

Afternoon breakout sessions will take place in the following rooms:
Hazard Seminar Room with divider closed (Groups 1 and 2)
Large Conference Room (Group 3)
Small Conference Room (Group 4)

2:15-2:30      Break

2:30-3:30      Breakout Session III: Practicing an Unscripted Interview
This final session will allow participants to revisit their interviewing skills. Participants will gather in the same groups as in Breakout II, taking turns interviewing one another while coaches are present to provide feedback on both the interviewers’ questions and interviewees’ responses.

3:30-4:00      Wrap-Up
All participants and coaches will reconvene in Hazard Seminar Room to discuss lingering questions and suggestions from the breakout sessions.


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