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Shirts, Science Communication, and Why Appearances Can Be Important

Posted 14 November 2014 by Matt Shipman

On Nov. 12, a robot launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) about ten years ago landed on a comet approximately 300 million miles away. Which is (literally) awesome. But this blog is about science communication, so I want to talk about a shirt. One of the ESA staffers prominently featured in coverage of the landing was Matt Taylor, who is head scientist on the project. Taylor is an intelligent guy, but he made the unfortunate decision to wear a... Read more

Following Your Passion Project: Notes from the 2014 National Association of Science Writers Meeting

Posted 13 November 2014 by Matt Shipman

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Brooke Borel. Borel is a freelance science writer and author. She organized a session at the 2014 meeting of the National Association of Science Writers on what it takes to make a “passion project” a success, and I asked her to write a guest post on the subject. Last month, 430 science journalists and communicators took over a Marriott hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio for their annual meeting, which included talks and... Read more

Science Blogging and Citations

Posted 31 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Paige Brown Jarreau, author of the SciLogs blog From The Lab Bench, recently wrote a lengthy post on the science of science blogging. The post included a lengthy list of related journal articles, and one of them caught my eye: “Do blog citations correlate with a higher number of future citations?” With Paige’s blessing, I decided to unpack that particular paper a bit. The full title of the paper is “Do blog citations correlate with a higher number of future... Read more

Beyond The News Release – How PIOs Can Connect With The Public

Posted 18 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Public information officers (PIOs) at research institutions are responsible for helping their employers connect with the public. Often this is through conventional media relations and social media efforts. But sometimes PIOs can find other ways, unconventional ways, of connecting with various audiences. To explore these issues, Karen Kreeger, senior science communications manager at Penn Medicine, organized a session for this year’s National Association of Science Writers meeting at Ohio State University. The session, “Beyond the News Release Grind: Connecting with... Read more

Quick Questions About Scientific American Español

Posted 16 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

On Oct. 15, Scientific American announced the launch of a new site called Scientific American español. The announcement describes the new site as “an online channel with a special focus on science news and information in Spanish.” Here’s an excerpt from the announcement: Our new Spanish-language site, headed by Debbie Ponchner under the direction of Robin Lloyd, Scientific American’s news editor, and Richard Zinken, director of international digital development, features the same authoritative take on science news and information that... Read more

Science Blogging for Institutions: Your Virtual Roundup of the ScienceWriters2014 #OrgBlog Session

Posted 16 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Rachel Ewing, a science and health news officer at Drexel University. Ewing is the organizer and moderator of a session called “Science Blogging for Institutions: How to Make Your #OrgBlog the Best it Can Be” at the National Association of Science Writers annual conference. This weekend at the National Association of Science Writers meeting in Columbus, OH, we’re going to talk about a topic that may be familiar to readers of Matt’s... Read more

Hands-On Science For Kids: An Interview with Liz Heinecke

Posted 6 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Anyone who spends time with children knows that they are information sponges, eager to learn new things. But, in my experience, they can also have incredibly short attention spans. So if you want kids to be passionate about science, you will likely have to do more than just give them a book. One way to capture (and keep) a child’s interest is to give him or her the freedom to make a mess, shoot a rocket or make candy. In... Read more

Readable, Accurate and Engaging: an Interview with Terry Devitt

Posted 1 October 2014 by Matt Shipman

Off the top of my head, I can list dozens of websites that offer readers science news. But in 1996, there were very few websites devoted exclusively to sharing high-quality science writing. One of the first sites to step into that niche was The Why Files, and it’s still cranking out stories almost two decades later. One of the founders of The Why Files is Terry Devitt, who is also the director of research communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.... Read more

Study: Talking To Reporters Can Boost Scientific Impact (And So Can Twitter)

Posted 23 September 2014 by Matt Shipman

A recent paper in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly highlights the role of public communications in boosting a researcher’s profile in the science community and finds that Twitter appears to increase the impact of those public communication efforts. This is only the latest article to link news coverage of research to scientific impact (I’ve written about related research here and here), but the new paper does a few things I haven’t seen before. First, it looks at a number of... Read more

Can Public Relations Be Science Communication?

Posted 22 September 2014 by Matt Shipman

In its most recent issue, the Journal of Science Communication raises the question of whether public communication efforts from research institutions are public relations or science communication. To address the question, the journal has published five commentaries, each of which covers a specific aspect of the issue and takes a different position. I wrote one of the commentaries. The commentaries (all of which are open access and can be found here) include an introductory piece by Rebecca Carver, who sums... Read more