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Volume 27 Issue 1 (January 2017)

GSA Today

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Article, pp. 44–45 | Full Text | PDF (298KB)

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Connecting the Next Generation of Science Journalists with Scientists in Action

Andrea Jones1, Lora Bleacher2, Jacob Bleacher2, Timothy Glotch3, Kelsey Young4, Barbara Selvin5, Richard Firstman5

1 Planetary Science Institute, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, USA
2 NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt RoAad, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, USA
3 Stony Brook University, 250 Earth and Space Sciences, Stony Brook, New York 11794-2100, USA
4 CRESST/University of Maryland at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, 8800 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, USA
5 Stony Brook University School of Journalism, 3384 SUNY, Stony Brook, New York 11794-3384, USA


As scientific advances and controversies flood the media, journalists with strong scientific backgrounds must ensure that complex science is portrayed accurately (Mooney, 2004). Science journalists see evidence-based reporting with scientific explanation and argumentation as essential tenets of their work (Secko and Fleury, 2014). NASA’s Remote, In Situ, and Synchrotron Studies for Science and Exploration (RIS4E; pronounced “rise”) team recognizes this need, and in collaboration with the Stony Brook University School of Journalism and the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, created the RIS4E Science Journalism Program. This innovative program uses RIS4E research to help journalism students strengthen their understanding of the practice of science and learn to report more effectively and accurately on scientific research. RIS4E begins with a semester-long science journalism practicum and culminates with a field experience in which students report on active NASA planetary science field research. This is the first program to engage undergraduate and graduate journalism students as a team in a deep, extended investigation of a NASA research effort.

Manuscript received 27 Apr. 2016; Revised manuscript received 21 Sept. 2016; Accepted 23 Sept. 2016