The project and associated workshop, “To Think, To Write, To Publish: Forging a Working Bond Between Next Generation Science Communicators and the Next Generation of Science and Technology Policy Leaders,” began to fill the need to connect science and technology policy with the communicators who will translate the substance and future of these fields into language and style that public audiences will find illuminating and compelling. The Next Generation (“Next Gen”) Communicators comprise a variety of participants, including writers, journalists and bloggers, as well as documentary filmmakers and museum and other communication professionals whose jobs are primarily in writing (such as catalogs, magazines, etc.). The workshop emphasized training these communicators in a genre called “narrative” or “creative nonfiction.”
The need for such an activity is illustrated not only in the experience of the principal investigators, but also in the quality of contemporary public dialogues around many, high-profile scientific and technical issues. To help bring a new understanding among the public and forge a new relationship among some of the players, we to brought together for an intensive two-day workshop three key groups:
- Next Gen Communicators interested in science and technology
- Next Gen science and technology policy (STP) leaders
- Editors of major magazines, publishing organizations and documentary film production companies covering these topics
The workshop, took place in May 2010 in conjunction with a larger symposium on “The Rightful Place of Science?” to help Next Gen Communicators and STP scholars connect by providing them with a cohort experience and shared training in the skills necessary to enlighten a broad and growing audience, articulate ideas and share them with that audience, work with editors and other senior communicators in their fields and, at the end of the process, publish their work. The workshop has lead to ongoing relationships among the participants.