Webinar 1 - “What does being a science communicator mean?”

CEBE SciComm · 01-09-2020 10:00 · Webinars

Past 3rd of June, CEBE started a series of webinars called “Translating knowledge: the world of scientific communication and illustration”, with the webinar “What does being a science communicator mean?”. Three outstanding professionals who displayed a different background but shared a common passion for science communication answered this question.

Pablo Barrecheguren (freelance science communicator):

“For me being a science communicator is something very joyful and, sometimes, very hard. In this work it is important to keep in mind that, if at a certain point you find yourself somewhere you do not want to be in, it is OK to go back”

Esther Sánchez García (scientific coordinator, script writer and co-presenter of the scientific section “A ciencias y a locas” from Carne Cruda radio program; podcast director and presenter)

“For me, a science communicator is a tool to spread the importance of science to the public (remember, you are not the news but the intermediary between science and people)

Juan Manuel Sarasua (freelance science journalist and science communication consultant)

“For me, being a science communicator means connecting dots to find what connects science with peoples’ reality”.

Would you like to (re)watch this interesting webinar? Here you have it, enjoy!

Could it be that after watching the webinar you still have questions? Well, today is your lucky day because our speakers left some additional information for you below!

Pablo Barrecheguren provided some links and platforms that were already requested by webinar attendees:

In terms of training, the new MSc on Science Culture from the Basque Country University (Spain) seems very interesting: https://scientia.eus/

 

If you look for reliable information, Principia is one of the best resources available https://principia.io/

 

Regarding Science Communication platforms, Scenio compiles a lot of interesting youtube videos, podcasts and infographies (http://scenio.es/) and “Radio Lab” (: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab) comprises very good radio and podcast programmes on SciComm.

Esther Sanchez García adviced the following to people considering SciComm as a career:

“I have always been interested in science, never knew which one (later, I found out that were all of them) and my interest in SciComm came when I realized about the connection in between science and the people and how broken was (is) it.

 

After having very diverse jobs in a lot of different fields of the SciComm, I tried to dig some advices that I find useful:

  • Learn how to use social networks. All of them. You do not have to be an influencer on every one of them, but you need to know how they work and their existence.
  • Make a twitter list of people you find interesting and stay updated.
  • Be open to different jobs, you never know what they will lead to.
  • Don’t be afraid to learn new things and to ask for help.
  • With friends, colleagues, professionals. Find your association of interest and get in.
  • Don’t get unfairly paid jobs. It’s bad for you and for your colleagues.
  • Be professional and learn from the best. Not everything is valid. Communication is not a second class matter.
  • Be kind to others.

To be a SciCommer is to be the tool to spread the importance of science and the scientific knowledge to the people. But in a moment when everyone wants to be known, remember: you are not the news, you are just the intermediary.

But first of all, you should find out which kind of SciCommer you want to be. Do you want to be a journalist and work for the media? Do you prefer working for a university, investigation center or a company and explain their science? Or do you prefer to do the outreach of your own investigations? Find that out first and the next step will come by itself.”

Juan Manuel Sarasua wrote the following piece of advice:

“My career experience is somehow shaped by the reality of the 2000’s. So, I tried many things and I had the chance to work in many aspects of this field. Here I gather my experience in many of the fields where you can develop a career in science communication:

1- Corporate and institutional communications. Many companies who are using technology and doing research for their products will definitely need someone trained personnel on how to communicate those aspects and create engaging narratives.

2- Editorial jobs with popular science initiatives: webs, blogs, social media channels, any type of digital publication has a team of workers behind, like editors, programmers, designers and translators, to name a few. Any of those positions need technical expertise and of course a keen interest in the topics you are communicating.

3- Press offices, media liaisons and national and international funded projects such as the European projects. The European Union and many national entities, from public and private sectors, are fundamental for the funding of research and scicomm activities. Usually not a lot of scientific expertise is needed to apply for these types of jobs, but everything will be better if you enjoy the science they promote.

4- Freelance science journalism and popular science initiatives: they are both pro-bono endeavours that will need the most out of you. But rest assure you’ll dedicate to those things you like most and that’s really satisfying.”

Moreover, Juan Manuel wrote the following reflection on this topic:

“The boom we are seeing of science in the media and of people communicating science is unique. I am not talking about all the fuzz of Covid-19, before the pandemic science became part of the main publications almost every day. What we are seeing now is perhaps the beginning of something big… IF things go fine with the role science takes in society, on how we, as a society, value science and scientific information.

Communicating science in these times has three main burdens to overcome. More than ever, we will have to deal with:

1- Uncertainties, changing scenarios and the urgent, and sometimes real, need to take action (like finding a cure for Covid-19).

2- A profound crisis in the media environment, from the way it is funded to the ethics behind the publications.

 3- A more than ever polarized discourse culture, that it will affect science as an institution. Science is being used and dragged into these political discourses and it will be manipulated. Strong ethics behind the way we communicate will be very much in need.”

We hope that this information was useful, and we look forward to meeting you in coming webinars!

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