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085: Scientists in the Newsroom – The AAAS Mass Media Fellowship feat. Rebekah Corlew

Pick up any newspaper and you’ll find an article summarizing the ‘latest research’ on the health benefits of chocolate, a new treatment for Alzheimers, or the long-term risks of screen time for your toddler.

As a scientist, you probably groan before you reach the end of the title: the claims are extreme, the statistics are dubious, and often, the information a reader should know is buried below the fold.

If you’d like to see science communication reach new levels of accuracy and relevance, it may be time to step away from your lab bench and pick up a pen.

AAAS Mass Media Fellowship

Scientists are trained to describe their work to other scientists in papers, posters, and presentations, but they may struggle to describe the importance of that work to a non-technical audience.

Journalists are trained to uncover facts, and tell a compelling story quickly and accurately, but they may not be familiar with the subtle nuances of a scientific field or technique.

For forty years, a fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has bridged that divide, placing scientists into the busiest newsrooms in the world.

The AAAS Media Science & Engineering Fellowship is competitive summer program that allows students, postdocs, and recent grads to spend 10 weeks practicing journalism with media outlets like The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, WIREDand Scientific American.

Director of Mass Media Fellowship
Rebekah Corlew, PhD. Project Director at AAAS

This week, we talk with Project Director Rebekah Corlew, PhD, about this amazing opportunity for scientists to improve their communication skills and their networks.  She shares a few stories about past fellows (including one whose article made the cover of Time Magazine!) and tips for a successful application.

The application deadline is January 15th, so click here to apply now!

Need more information? Watch this pre-recorded webinar or read the Q&A.

CDC Word Ban

Last week, the Washington Post reported that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had issued a ‘word ban’ for their annual budget request.  The undesirable terms were: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

Many readers, lawmakers, and scientists responded with outrage about the supposed ban, while the department of Health and Human Services attempted to claim it was all a misunderstanding.

We share our thoughts on the story, which is likely more nuanced and less villainous than the headlines would have you believe.

We also sample another German favorite, the Allgäuer Büble Bier Edelbräu from Allgauer Brauhaus from Kempten, Germany.  It travelled a long way to reach our studio, but it was well worth the trip!

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