Metcalf program to help scientists use social media to reach new audiences

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University of Rhode Island

Graduate School of Oceanography


Karen Southern

Director of Communications, 401-874-6009


Metcalf Institute to host workshop on web-based science communication for Rhode Island graduate students

NARRAGANSETT, RI – July 20, 2012 – It’s not rocket science, but effective use of social media is essential to communicating scientific research to a broad audience. That’s the focus on a workshop hosted by Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting in partnership with Rhode Island NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and Rhode Island Sea Grant on July 30 at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography.

The workshop will provide graduate students studying science in Rhode Island universities with new social media and blogging skills and emphasize the value of using those tools to communicate their science to the public. The workshop will feature a training session led by Bora Zivkovic, blog editor at Scientific American and founder of ScienceOnline, a non-profit organization that facilitates discussion about science through online networks and face-to-face meetings. Brown University social media specialist John S. Murphy will discuss the importance of differentiating personal opinion from fact in web-based communications, such as blogs.

“The Internet is a powerful tool for disseminating scientific research to the public,” said Sunshine Menezes, executive director of Metcalf Institute. “This workshop will give graduate students the skills and confidence they need to share their perspectives on science and increase the public understanding of their work.”

Workshop participants will also hear the perspectives of early-career scientists who are actively engaged in online science communications. Catharine Pratt, a recent doctoral graduate from Brown University and Daniel Blustein, a current graduate student at Northeastern University, will share their experiences in contributing to online discussions about science without taking too much time away from their graduate studies.

The Metcalf Institute was established at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography in 1997 with funding from three media foundations, the Belo Corporation, the Providence Journal Charitable Foundation and the Philip L. Graham Fund, and with additional funding from the Telaka Foundation. It is named for the late Michael P. Metcalf, a visionary in journalism and publisher of The Providence Journal Bulletin from 1979-1987. In addition to providing science training for reporters and editors to help improve the accuracy and clarity of environmental reporting, Metcalf Institute administers the Grantham Prize, the world’s largest cash prize for journalism awarded for excellence in environmental reporting.