Science Literacy Workshop Slated at The University of Texas at Austin

April 4, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — A group of science broadcast journalists from throughout the United States will participate in a Science Literacy Project workshop at The University of Texas at Austin April 6-12 to equip them with knowledge and tools for better reporting of complex science news stories.

The 13 participants—reporters and editors from rural to metropolitan public broadcast radio stations from throughout the country—will hear presentations from university professors from a broad range of scientific backgrounds. The six-day workshop also will include discussions with science reporters and editors from a variety of media, as well as experts in law, ethics, statistics and research.

The workshop includes sessions on chemistry, statistics, genes and cells, the scientific method, responsibilities of a science journalist, astronomy and other topics.

"We are trying to help these journalists become more competent and confident in reporting scientific and environmental and technology issues," said Bari Scott, executive director of SoundVision Productions of Berkeley, Calif., which is sponsoring the project in cooperation with Latino USA and KUT-FM at The University of Texas at Austin.

"The aim of the week long intensive workshop is to help reporters close their knowledge deficit and instill confidence and curiosity that will ultimately translate into their work," Scott said. "The training is valuable because so many reporters and producers find themselves having to present news stories about scientific issues and because there often is a scientific tie to many policy considerations. It adds to the pool of national and regional reporters who are able to report competently on complex research processes, discoveries and implications."

"One of the issues that we consider is that most of the reporters have very little science background, yet, they are more and more being given the responsibility to communicating science and technical issues, research and implications to their audience. They feel that this is an awesome responsibility or should I say an overwhelming obligation—one that they want to get right, but don't have the training or the background."

For more information, contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of the President, 512 475 7847; Bari Scott, SoundVision Productions, 510-823-3154.