Strategies for Engaging the Press

Science Communication Workshop for the Superfund Research Program
2019 Superfund Research Program Annual Meeting
Northeastern University
Boston, Massachusetts
April 4, 2019

Does the idea of a call from a journalist send shivers down your spine? This Metcalf Institute workshop is specifically designed to help Superfund Research Program (SRP) scientists improve their interactions with reporters and build their confidence as scientists.

Jennifer Weeks, environment and energy editor at The Conversation, will offer tips and best practices on how to handle media calls, ways to engage with journalists about research, and what reporters are looking for when they conduct interviews. Participants at the workshop will have an opportunity to practice their new skills during mock interviews at the conclusion of the workshop.

The workshop is geared towards graduate students studying Poly- and Perfluoroalky Substances or PFASs, man-made chemicals used in hundreds of industrial and consumer products that have emerged as a high-priority environmental contaminant. Community engagement and the ability to translate complex scientific information to a broad audience, including the news media, is an essential part of this work.

Jennifer Weeks is environment and energy editor at The Conversation, a nonprofit web site that publishes articles written by academics, edited by journalists and aimed at the general public. From 2004 through 2015, Jennifer Weeks was a freelance journalist specializing in environment, science and health. She has written for more than 60 newspapers, magazines and web sites, including the Washington Post, Boston Globe Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Audubon, Discover and Slate, and for foundations, universities and nonprofit organizations. In her pre-journalism life, she worked for fifteen years as a Congressional aide, public-interest lobbyist and policy analyst. Weeks graduated from Williams College and holds master’s degrees from the University of North Carolina (political science) and Harvard University (environmental policy).

The workshop is funded by the 2019 Northeast SRP Annual Meeting.