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Get Ready for Your Close-up at the 224th AAS Meeting

Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 14:02

One of the great things about working in astronomy is that the press and public are keenly interested in what we do. That’s the good news. The bad news is that few of us receive any training, in our education or on the job, in how to communicate effectively with the press and public. Yet funding agencies increasingly expect researchers to reach beyond the scientific community to share discoveries and insights with a broader audience.

To help fill the gap between expectations and preparation ― and to help you avoid panic if a reporter calls ― the AAS is partnering with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory to present our first-ever half-day AAS/NRAO Media Training Workshop on Sunday afternoon, 1 June 2014, in conjunction with the 224th AAS meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. The program runs from 1 to 5 pm in St. George AB at the Westin Copley Place and includes a halftime refreshment break.

Engaging and interactive, the workshop will focus on communication theory — concepts that can help bridge the gap between scientists and public — and real-world techniques and resources that you can use to be a highly effective communicator. Topics will include what makes a science story newsworthy, how press releases are created and distributed, what do to if you think you have a newsworthy result worth publicizing, how to work with the public-information officers (PIOs) at your institution and funding agencies, how to prepare for a press conference, how to describe your research in pithy yet accurate terms, and tips to survive your first on-camera interview. Presenters include NRAO PIOs Charles Blue and David Finley, former Boston Globe science writer and current MIT PIO David Chandler, and former AAS press officer Steve Maran.

The workshop costs $55 and is open to all attendees but will be especially valuable to early-career astronomers. To register, use the Meeting Workshop Registration Paper Form linked from the AAS 224 registration page. Note that the late-registration deadline for the Boston meeting is 15 May.

Richard Tresch Fienberg
Press Officer
American Astronomical Society (AAS)