Science Communication Workshop: Writing for Influential Audiences

Agenda | Videos | Speaker Bios

July 20, 2016
10 am – 4:30 pm (lunch included)
URI Feinstein Campus
80 Washington Street
Providence, RI

Hand writing with Metcalf pen

Writing is an essential skill for researchers. Whether you were preparing a manuscript for publication, a grant proposal, or a conference abstract, clear and compelling writing is always needed. But writing for non-expert audiences required a different approach, one that is concise and jargon-free.

Metcalf Institute hosted a workshop to help Rhode Island science graduate students, faculty, post docs, and research staff build the skills and confidence to write for public audiences. The daylong workshop provided basic tips on how to improve writing skills and translate complex scientific information into short narratives of interest for non-expert audiences. Attendees also learned how to write for influential audiences: namely, the news media and op-ed readers.

News releases are an important way to publicize your research and its significance. Sometimes researchers must draft their own releases, without any coaching on how to pique the interest of local, regional, or national reporters.

Opinion pieces are also an effective means of discussing your research, and offer the potential to reach important audiences such as funders, policy makers, and voters.

Workshop participants gained instruction in how to write for these different audiences, and had the opportunity to practice each of these types of writing under the guidance of expert coaches, including community-based writing specialist, Dr. Caroline Gottschalk-Druschke, of URI’s Writing and Rhetoric and Natural Resources Science Departments; Bina Venkataraman, Carnegie Fellow at New America and former journalists and senior advisor for climate change innovation in the Obama Administration; and David Orenstein, life sciences writer, Brown University.

The workshop was supported by Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR and was open to natural and social science faculty, research staff, graduate students, and postdocs from all Rhode Island colleges and universities.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement #EPS-1004057.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are thosensf-plain-blue
of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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