Author: Jacqueline Aenlle, Kansas State University, United States

Format: Mini-workshop

Many communication professionals rely on the engagement of scientists to support and strengthen our communication efforts. Though some scientists enjoy working with communicators, many still have reservations. This mini-workshop will explore how to better engage with scientists. This 50-minute workshop is focused on the relationship between scientists and communicators or journalists, discusses recent testimonials from subject matter experts on their experiences interacting with different communicators and journalists, and describes which opportunities they are more likely to accept. The workshop will start by sharing common barriers to scientists participating in science communication efforts and ways organizations are addressing these barriers. Next, participants will hear from a panel that includes podcast hosts, Extension agents, and university scientists who have participated in a variety of outreach opportunities. These testimonials will be pre-recorded and shared via video at the conference. After allowing adequate time for discussion of workshop participants’ experiences with building relationships with scientists and challenges they’ve faced, we will conclude this workshop by examining the role of trust (e.g., the trust equation as presented in the Trusted Advisor by David Maister, Rob Galford, and Charles Green) in this relationship, existing trust survey instruments, and items of trustworthiness to consider when working with scientists to discuss their work. This workshop will be of interest to science writers, podcasters, and multi-media producers since many of the examples and testimonials are from these fields. Attendees will leave the workshop with a better understanding of trust dimensions, reservations of scientists when participating in science communication, and tips for strengthening relationships with scientists to increase their willingness to participate in science communication.

Author: Jacqueline Aenlle, Kansas State University, United States

Co-author(s): Jamie Loizzo, Lisa Lundy

Format: Individual paper

As trust in science continues to fluctuate, it is important to create opportunities for scientists to communicate with the public and develop trusting relationships with consumers. While some agricultural and natural resource (ANR) scientists and Extension agents participate in various outreach opportunities, many do not and face several barriers to participating, such as a lack of incentive, knowledge, or confidence. Podcasts have served as an innovative way to share and make scientific knowledge more accessible to larger public audiences. This study aimed to examine the experiences of ANR scientists and Extension agents who have served as a guest on science podcasts. In total, 18 scientists from a land grant university completed the survey in its entirety, and five voluntarily participated in a follow-up interview. On podcasts, participants discussed topics including environmental, food, and human sciences. The results of this study showed that the podcast guests identified as white, Hispanic/Latino, and Asian and were balanced between males and females. Podcast guests had little to no formal science communication training but were highly educated individuals involved with formal or informal education, and had spoken on podcasts about agriculture and occasionally topics such as environmental science, food, natural resources, and human sciences. Guests indicated that institutions could better support science communicators by providing additional training and professional development opportunities. Future research should examine how peer modeling can be used to recruit more scientists to science communication opportunities and explore how organizations and institutions can better collaborate with scientists and support their outreach via workshops and other training opportunities.