Monday, 16 May 2011

Sci Comm: The Next Generation

Hi everyone! As always it's been a while. Sorry. There's been a lot of conferences lately and I'm currently house hunting, which means this place and my PhD have both been feeling a little neglected. First I'd like to congratulate NASA for another successful shuttle launch today and second, I have an exciting new post for you.

This is all about a one day conference that was held here in Cambridge last Wednesday for a select group of people from sicence media, predominantly including journalists and film makers, all of whom have extensive and well developed online personas. Several of us from BlueSci where very honored to be asked to attend too, as the focus was squarely on the future. Where we at BlueSci, as aspiring science writers could take the field in the coming years.

The day was full of exciting and controversial bits of debate and we got to hear lots from many different view points about what science journalists should be doing and how we should be interacting with academics and the public. Here I have outlined the major topics discussed, more details are available elsewhere (see the end). Whilst I dod find some opinions difficult to agree with, it was interesting to hear what everyone had to say and I feel I have gained a lot from the experience.

Also I'll hopefully be posting again soon as following this conference I saw Simon Singh again, along with Ben Goldacre and Brian Cox on their Uncaged Monkeys tour here in Cambridge, so stay tuned for that.

The crest of Jesus College
What is the future of science media and science journalism in the 21st century with all of this new media and the shift of communications onto the Internet? This was the focus of a one-day conference hosted by John Cornwell at Jesus College, Cambridge.
The day took the form of a series of open discussions with two leaders providing focus to the discussion. After a warm welcome by John Cornwell, John Naughton opened the first session by discussing the opportunities and challenges involved in adopting new media. He focused on how newspapers have become news organisations, with the paper being one of many media products. Science journalism was effectively compared to a developing ecology where a few large dinosaurs are being replaced by a myriad army of journalistic, blogging termites with a corresponding increase in productivity. The reduction is media size was also highlighted; people buy tracks not albums, read stories not papers and posts not blogs. He asked the questions: How do we add value to a story amidst such competition? And who pays for good journalism when so much of it is free online?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A Right Royal Easter Spring Conference

Hi everyone! Sorry for the neglect, I'm working on several things at the moment so this place has been a bit neglected (hides the cracks in the paintwork). Have no fear that I do have several things chasing each other round my brain and one or the other of them may actually make it into print shortly.

Firstly, the launch of the Easter issue of BlueSci is expected on Thursday, so it's been crazy getting that printed and making sure that the online version will be ready to go too. Thankfully I think I'm on top of that now, but that was quite a few evenings eaten.

Also, and probably most excitingly, I went to my first real, proper, grown-up conference over most of last week so what with the long hours I was a bit short on news hunting/writing time. I did however squeeze in time to write several daily pieces for ConferenceCast, which will be appearing over the next few days. It was really cool, focusing on Cell & Developmental biology so we had loads of great speakers (and the occasional dull one, but not everyone's perfect). The prize winners were all awesome and really interesting, especially the Beddington medal winning PhD student who used music to illustrate how well cells moved together during migration.

Now I finally get some time in my third and final lab of the year, 2 weeks after we offcially started, so it's going to be pretty intensive to try and get some results in just 7 weeks. Also I'm putting together a poster about the importance of science communication for a one day conference later in the week.

 I also had to watch the new series of Doctor Who, of course, which is fantastic, although like everyone else I have NO clue what's going on.

So if you've been missing my senseless ramblings you can pop over to ConferenceCast and see exactly what I've been up to and I promise to get my next proper piece up ASAP and to stop writing all about myself.