Communicating with Media, Funders,
Policymakers, and the Public
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Coffman Memorial Union
300 Washington Ave. SE, Minneapolis
Land-grant research universities like ours were created to share knowledge with the broader community. It is part of our mission and something we all care deeply about. For scientists and researchers, that call to communicate has taken on special resonance in recent years as debates about vaccines, evolution and climate change point to a divergence between scientific consensus and public opinion.
Speaking Science is a science communication conference designed to help scientists, engineers, and other researchers develop stronger storytelling skills that will make their work understandable and compelling to the media, thought leaders, potential funders and general audiences. The conference is specifically designed to provide faculty, post-docs and graduate students across the University of Minnesota with a unique opportunity to learn how to better communicate their science to audiences beyond the academic community.
The one-day conference will feature special guests including President Eric Kaler, an all-star media panel, a keynote speech by science communications expert Emily Graslie. The afternoon is focused on in-depth interactive trainings, and break-out sessions that include mock interviews with local journalists that will provide participants with invaluable feedback about how to frame their research in the most compelling way possible.
If you’re unable to attend the conference in person, please feel welcome to join us online. We’ll be streaming all of the morning presentations from 8:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.
What You Will Learn
In interactive and small-group sessions, you will explore and understand the techniques of effectively telling the story about the impact of your research.
Build Your Storytelling Toolkit
- Identify your “big idea.”
- Transform technical language into accessible information.
- Talk about your research by telling stories that everyone will understand.
Focus Your Message
- Determine the purpose in telling your story.
- Clarify the action you would like people to take after hearing your story.
- Discover new ways to craft your message to engage your audience.
- Develop a short, understandable summary of your research.
Define Your Audience
- Find and define your audience.
- Determine where to tell your story.
- Discover what stories resonate with various audiences.
- Build a plan for promoting your research.
Morning Faculty Panel
Our opening will include a rockstar faculty panel, moderated by new Vice President of Research, Chris Cramer
Dr. McAlpine heads a research group in the department of Mechanical Engineering that focuses on 3D printing functional materials and devices. His work in 3D printing of bionic ears, neuronal stem cells, and “bionic eyes” (photodiode arrays), has been frequently featured in national television and print media.
Professor Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, and directs The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. She has written friend-of-the-court briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as two books, many book chapters, and articles for scholarly journals and for the popular and professional press, including The New York Times, The Conversation, and the Guardian (UK).
Kristina Krohn, M.D.
Dr. Krohn is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the University of Minnesota Medical School. Her research is focused on how to communicate medicine to people without a medical background. That includes medical journalism, education, and communicating effectively with patients and other stakeholders, especially those who might have language barriers to understanding.
Morning Media Panel
Our second panel discussion of the morning will be moderated by Elisia Cohen of the Hubbard School of Journalism and feature some of the most experienced minds in news media.
Elisia Cohen – Moderator
Dr. Cohen earned her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota as Director and tenured Professor in the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication she served as the Gifford Blyton Endowed Professor and chaired the University of Kentucky Department of Communication and led its Health Communication Research Collaborative.
Timothy Blotz holds a master’s degree in strategic communications from the University of Minnesota in addition to holding the position of news anchor for the Fox owned television station in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Timothy is a recipient of the Edward R. Murrow Award in writing, and multiple Emmy Awards for his work as a television anchor and journalist.
Michelle Cortez is the health, science and medical technology reporter for Bloomberg News. She is based in Minneapolis but you can find her reporting in both national and international publications such as: The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Globe and Mail, Sydney Morning Herald, Barrington Courier-Review, Houston Chronicle, The Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, The Denver Post, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The (Toronto) Star.
Keynote Speaker: Emily Graslie
Emily Graslie has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work, including the American Alliance of Museum’s Nancy Hanks Award for Professional Excellence. She’s a six-time Webby Award honoree and nominee in the ‘Online Science/Education Channel’ and ‘Web Personality/Host’ categories; a member of the 2018 Forbes 30 under 30 list in Education; and was named as a ‘Person of the Year’ in 2017 by the Chicago Tribune.
She currently stars in her own educational YouTube channel called The Brain Scoop which has over 470,000 subscribers. Graslie is also employed by the Field Museum as their first-ever Chief Curiosity Correspondent.
Speaking to the Public with Mary Milla
You’re good at what you do, but are you good at talking about what you do? Communications coach Mary Milla will show you a fast, easy and practical method for simplifying your science so it connects with audiences at public lectures, donor meetings, alumni events and any occasion you have to shine a spotlight on your work. She’ll take you through the process in real time, so if you have a meeting or talk to prepare for, you’ll have a good start on it by the end of this workshop! Mary will also share tips for making sure your voice and body language exude the confidence and passion you have for your work.
Interacting with the Media
You have interesting stories to share — stories that can help make the world a better place. And journalists can help you share your story, especially if you help them do their jobs. In this popular Boreas workshop, you’ll get to meet, conduct mock interviews with and learn from local reporters. Learn how to pitch stories and give a great interview.
Building Better Presentations with Todd Reubold
IonE communications director Todd Reubold has been helping raise the quality of presentations at the University for years. Now you, too, can benefit from his insights and coaching. Learn presentation design and delivery best practices. Explore presenting to scientific and general audiences. Improve one of your own presentations.
Sharing Your Best Science Story with Stephanie Long
This hands-on workshop introduces effective tools, techniques, and resources that will help practitioners better communicate their research. The session will be divided into two sections with an overview of best practices for storytelling followed by exercises that allow professionals at all stages in their careers to sharpen their existing communication skills. Stephanie Long from the Science Museum of Minnesota will be delivering this session.
Communicating ‘Controversial’ Science with ‘Skeptical’ Audiences: Some Tools for Scientists with Dr. Doug Cloud
Explore strategies for interacting with a variety of audiences who might be skeptical of—or just resistant to—scientific findings that challenge an audience’s group affiliations (e.g. political or religious identities) or longstanding policy positions (e.g. their stance on the government’s role in addressing environmental degradation).
The Speaking Science reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. at the Weisman Art Museum (WAM). Reception guests will have private access to the Museum’s collections. Live music by the Broken Heartland String Band will have you dancing, or at the very least, tapping your feet. We’ll also feature presentations from the finalists of the Graduate School’s 3-Minute Thesis Competition.
Created by our graphic recorder extraordinaire Amy Sparks who will be returning to Speaking Science again this year
Sponsoring colleges and units have advance access to tickets on November 1st. Tickets will become available to the greater University of Minnesota community on November 15th. Registration is limited to graduate students, post-docs and faculty members at the University of Minnesota.
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Faculty, staff researchers and post-docs
Advance tickets for co-sponsoring colleges and units – $65
Regular price tickets – $80 (after Nov. 15)
Advance tickets for co-sponsoring colleges and units – $35
Regular price tickets – $45 (after Nov. 15)
No. This event is tailored specifically for graduate/professional students, staff researchers, post-docs and faculty members from the University of Minnesota and our special guests from the media.
Graduate and professional student participants do not receive academic credit for Boreas short courses or workshops. You can earn a Boreas certificate, though, and include your participation and skills development as part of your resumes, CV or portfolio.
Participating in the full-day conference fulfills all the workshops required by the Communications and Media portion of the certificate.