Media and Science Journalism

Of deficits, deviations and dialogues: Theories of public communication of science. Bucchi, M. (2008). Handbook of public communication of science and technology, 57-76. View

Science and the media: alternative routes to scientific communications (Vol. 1). Bucchi, M. (1998).  Routledge.

Balance as bias: global warming and the US prestige press. Boykoff, M. T., & Boykoff, J. M. (2004). Global Environmental Change, 14, 125–136.

Media sources, credibility, and perceptions of science: Learning about how people learn about science. Bruno Takahashi, Michigan State University, USA and Edson C. Tandoc Jr. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Public Understanding of Science 2016, Vol. 25(6) 674–690. Download PDF Here. 

Trust and Relationships

Responding to community outrage: Strategies for effective risk communication. Sandman, P. M. (1993). AIHA.

The “trust gap” hypothesis: Predicting support for biotechnology across national cultures as a function of trust in actors. Priest, S. H., Bonfadelli, H., & Rusanen, M. (2003). Risk Analysis, 23(4), 751–766.

The role of social and decision making sciences in communicating uncertain climate risks.  Pidgeon, N., & Fischhoff, B. (2011). Nature Climate Change, 1, 35-41.

Risk communication: An overview. Rowan, K. E. (2010). In S. H. Priest (Ed). Encyclopedia of Science and Technology Communication. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, Vol. 2, pp. 652-658.

Kick-Off Workshop Presentations and Handouts

Here are some resources for the workshop and beyond:

Workshop Schedule

Detailed Assignment Timeline – 2017-2018

Date                                                             Assignment Due

Tuesday, October 17                            First Seminar Event: Learn about the science of science communication, and receive briefing on the Seminar requirements. Faculty members are: George Mason University (GMU) Science Communication Professor Kathy Rowan, GMU science communication PhD student Julia Hathaway, and VASG Communications Center Manager Ian Vorster.

Friday, October 27                            One-page proposal uploaded to course website. Describe outreach product, intended audience, desired impact.

Monday, November 13                     Feedback from all instructors on proposal sent by email to participants.

Monday, December 11                      First version outreach product uploaded to course website.

Friday, December 15                         Second Seminar Event: Peer and instructor feedback on first versions of outreach products. Representative stakeholders invited.

January 20 – February 2                 Assistance with printing out fliers, infographics available through Ian Vorster, VASG.

Friday, January 26                            Final version outreach product (or a link to the product) uploaded to course website.

Friday, February 9                            Third Seminar Event: Presentation of final outreach products to peers, instructors, and representative stakeholders.


Examples of Past Projects and Proposals

Participants may choose any communication project they would like and are encouraged to brainstorm ideas with each other and the Seminar faculty. Here are some examples of previous work:

  • Blog – Defining an invasive species
  • Infographic — Plastic Bag Pollution
  • Facebook page — Everything You Need to Know about Nutrient Pollution
  • Photography —  Cheaper to Visit the Fish Market?
  • Poster — Virginia Aquaculture: Oysters are good for the Bay!
  • Video Animation – The Role of Oysters in Nitrogen Cycling

What you’ll see in these project examples is a wide variety in audiences, topics, and communication strategies. However, you’ll also see that the proposals are a starting point for these projects, but the project (including the final title) evolved over the course of the Seminar.

Final Product Guidelines

Due February 9, 2018

You will share the final version of your communication project at the Virginia Sea Grant 2018 Graduate Symposium. Here are some steps that will ensure you are prepared:

1. Refine your product in ways that respond to instructor and stakeholder feedback.

2. Develop a powerpoint, digital poster, or inforgraph to describe the product and share it at the event.

Ask for assistance with graphics or poster creation. Complete by January 26.

3. Rehearse oral presentations.

Ian Vorster will be able to provide feedback on presentations, elevator talks, or other oral and visual communication projects. Please contact him to schedule a time to meet in January 2017 to perform your presentation. Ask for guidance on making your presentation accessible to the stakeholder group it targets, and is of interest to the scientists who attend this meeting.

4. Share your product.

All Advanced Science Communication Seminar participants will receive an electronic invitation to the event. Participants must RSVP and submit their poster details to that invitation system. The poster can be an example of the project the participant worked on during the Seminar or a poster that describes the project development. If you have questions, please ask Ian Vorster.

First Draft Guidelines

Due Friday December 11, 2017

The first draft of your communication project does not need to be a designed, early-edition of what you envision as your final product. If you’re writing something for your project, an outline might suffice. If you’re designing an animation, a story board could be enough. If you’re designing an image, or series of images, a basic sketch may be all you need. Your goal is to present a developed idea to get feedback before you spend much time in working out the specifics.

1. Develop a draft, sketch, or outline of the product.

Use resources listed in the resources section of the course website. Share this effort with your instructors by posting it to the course website. You should paste or type text directly into the post and upload images if necessary.

2. Get feedback from stakeholders.

Locate representative members of your stakeholder group OR ask the course instructors to locate these individuals to give you feedback in person, by phone, or video conference. Visit the audience analysis guide Dr. Karen Akerlof developed and learn as much as you can about your audience’s interests or concerns relevant to your topic.

3. Consider feedback from your instructors and representative audience members.

You can also look at drafts from your fellow classmates and post comments on their work.

Project Proposal Guidelines


Due Friday, October 27, 2017

The first step in the Advanced Science Communication Seminar is to learn about your audience and put some of your project ideas into writing. Here are some steps you should follow to develop your one-to-two-page proposal to get started on your communication project.

1. Reach out to your stakeholder group as soon as you can.

Describe some of your research, using a lay-accessible elevator talk. Identify two or three members of this stakeholder group. Ask what “bugs,” puzzles, interests, or impresses them about the topic.  If you are unclear about how you might identify and access these individuals, seek assistance from your adviser, Ian Vorster, or fellow seminar participants. Email Kathy Rowan at, or Ian Vorster at 

2. Take a look at previous examples of proposals.

See the sample proposals on this website under Resources.

3. Consider your goals and the challenges to achieving them.

Analyze your situation through the lens of the CAUSE Model discussed by Rowan during the kick-off workshop. That is, ask yourself whether you need to earn the audience’s confidence and why. Ask yourself WHY your topic may be difficult to understand, and what steps will address intellectual or emotional obstacles to understanding. Refer to readings in the “Resources” section of the course website.

4. Post your proposal to the website.

Proposals should have three parts:

  1. Opening paragraph establishing the nature and severity of some environmental problem (e.g., diminishing populations of oysters; erosion along shorelines, excess nutrients in the Chesapeake) and ways in which your research explores this problem or contributes to its solution.
  2. A paragraph describing a stakeholder group that would benefit from learning about your research or that may be interested in your research. Be as specific as you can about this group. For example, a “general audience” might be too general. How about talking to journalists who specialize in covering environmental stories? Are there local reporters or university science writers whom you could contact initially? Or consider the Society of Environmental Journalists or the Yale Climate Communication Center’s radio series. Is there a journalist whom Ian Vorster can refer you to? Perhaps that person could be someone with whom you have an in-person or phone conversation to explore what aspects of research would interest that journalist’s readers.
  3. A paragraph or two on the product you will develop. Will it be a talk for a specified group? A one-pager for legislators or regulators? A game for Marine Science Day visitors? A photo essay for exhibition.  Explain the benefits of this product and why this product will address the audience’s interests and concerns.

To post your proposal, you will copy and paste the text into this platform. Here’s how to create a post. Don’t forget to check the categories for Project Proposals and your name!

5. Consider the feedback you receive from the course instructors and begin work on the proposed product.

You can also look at project proposals from your fellow classmates and post comments on their work.

How to Navigate This Site

As a participant in the Seminar, you will be contributing content to this site. There are things you can do that will help make sure the site is easy to get around.

Navigation Menu

The navigation menu is the blue bar at the top of the website that contains links. When you click on these links you will go to different areas of the site. When the Seminar starts, there will only be a couple of posts that Janet added.


Sub-menus will appear as  more and more posts are created. These will appear when you hover over a menu option. The sub-menus will group related posts to make it easier to see who is working on what.

Every Seminar participant will have sub-menu. This means that you will be able to select your name or another participant’s name and see all of the posts they created.

We will also create sub-menus for to help group communication projects to make it easy to see what other participants are working on. All participants working on brochures will have their posts grouped into a brochures sub-menu. All posts discussing presentations will be grouped in a presentations sub-menu.


All of the menus on this site are controlled by “categories.” You will be responsible for helping us maintain sub-menus by selecting categories when you create a post.

When you create a post, you will select categories before publishing. Your post will appear in the navigation bar or sub-menus based on the categories you select.

For this post, Janet selected “Communication Projects”, “Resources,” and “Student Posts.” You will see this post in each of those locations because she selected those categories when we published. Because she also selected “Project Proposals” you will see that sub-menu appear when you hover over the right menu option in the navigation bar.