Our Stories: Leveraging Scientific Conferences To Include Journalists

We blog here with brief updates or reflections on our work, while our website provides examples and descriptions of what we do. We are excited to continue sharing our series of stories, focused on longer timelines and richer details. Read more of our other stories here. And visit our blog next week to learn about the next journalism fellowship we will be offering!

NACCB Conservation Tapas

Our Nancy Baron introduces a subset of the 25 journalists we sponsored to attend the 2014 North American Congress for Conservation Biology (NACCB) meeting. We work with conference organizers to integrate journalists into scientific conferences. The result? Journalists hear what scientists are working on, scientists hear what journalists are seeing unfold in the public discourse, and the relationships forged between scientists and journalists lead to great stories, ideas, and new research questions.

Scientific conferences are opportunities to share the latest research, amid a whirlwind of new ideas, data, and connections. The chance to meet new researchers and students, and interact face-to-face, is invaluable and it is why attendees and organizers alike are willing to invest their precious time and resources. Because so many great minds are all in the same place at the same time, scientific conferences also present an opportunity for scientists to share their work with the wider world.

One of the main purposes of a conference is to communicate science, but mostly with others in your field or society. Meetings can also be traditional launching points for new projects and big announcements, and most conferences now host press registration and briefings. At COMPASS, we recognize the potential of conferences to facilitate the meeting of many different kinds of minds and different ways to communicate, but this usually requires breaking traditional molds. In July 2014, for example, our opening plenary, “Conservation Tapas: Small Bites of Big Conservation Issues” for the North American Congress for Conservation Biology (NACCB) introduced 25 journalists attending the meeting. Shoulder-to-shoulder on the stage, the journalists faced the conference participants: a powerful reminder that the world was indeed watching.

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About Brooke Smith

Brooke Smith is the former Executive Director of COMPASS. She spends a lot of time thinking about the friction - yet incredible need - for science to be closer to society. She is in awe, and appreciative, of the scientists that are paving the way by getting out there and sharing their science, knowledge and insights with the wider world. It motivates her to ensure COMPASS continues to thrive, to support scientists to find their voice, and to join the most relevant conversations.

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