Scientists in Science Communication: An Examination of Agricultural and Natural Resource Podcast Guest Experiences

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.