Apply for Diversity Travel Fellowship to Attend Science Writers Conference

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The upcoming Science Writers 2014 Conference is sure to be an amazing experience. I am hoping that many NABJ members consider attending this conference because of the number and variety of professional and networking opportunities it offers.

Here is a chance to attend and have your conference costs covered. Announcing the NASW Diversity Travel Fellowship. Sponsored by a generous NASW Idea Grant, these travel awards (5 at $1,000 each) were created to encourage underrepresented minorities in science journalism to attend the ScienceWriters2014 conference in Columbus, Ohio.

US based underrepresented minority journalists are encouraged to apply especially African-, Hispanic-, and Native-Americans who have journalism experience in STEM, medicine, health, environment, technology, etc.

The grant continues my ongoing work with DiverseScholar and our work to increase diversity in the science communication workforce.  Why does diversity matter in science communication? We already know that diversity impacts what information in brought before different audiences. Science-related information is no different, but because its important role in each of our lives diverse perspectives matter even more. Delivering culturally relevant health, science, technology, and environmental news is important and is the key to addressing disparities in access to essential services and future career opportunities in these growing fields.

The meeting offers several networking opportunities to connect with other journalists, science communicators and scientists. You’ll hear speakers talk about current research related to society issues and information perception, science-related policy issues such as GMO biotechnology, impact of culture in reinforcing racial and sexist stereotypes, health care and public health.

This conference will be awesome, so apply for the travel award.

More details about the application and fellowship are here. Application includes 10 survey questions, upload your resume or CV and one 500+ word essay asking applicants to describe the importance of diversity in science communication. Preview the entire application at this link. Deadline to apply is Friday August 29 at 11:55 pm PST using this online application.

Connect to other Science Communicators on Twitter and connect to other Science Writing conference attendees.

#SciWri14

#mediadiversity

#DivSciWri

@ScienceWriting

@ScienceWriters

@TheDarkSci

@CultureDish

Meeting registration opens August 15, 2014. But apply today. Deadline for the fellowship is August 29. If you have questions about the travel fellowship direct them to me, @DNLee5 and @MinorityPostdoc.

danielle-lee2Dr. Danielle N. Lee is an NABJ and NASW member, a science blogger and co-founder of the National Science & Technology News Service.

You Are Invited to the Science Writers 2014 Conference

 

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I am back from the 2014 NABJ Conference in Boston, Massachusetts and I fired up! There were so many great conversations happening. I was especially excited about the series of panels arranged by Healthy NABJ. These panels explored the critical role of journalism in better healthcare delivery to underserved populations.

But it wasn’t just about healthcare, folks were discussing technology, and weather preparedness, sports, fashion, beauty, and more. Though not explicitly covered, but all of these topics have very, very strong science, technology, engineering, and math foundations (STEM). Science is at the heart of so many of stories that NABJ members deliver.

Which is why I am inviting my fellow NABJ members to the annual Science Writers Conference, October 17-20, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio. The conference is hosted by the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) and Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW). The meeting offers several fun networking and engaging professional development opportunities: Friday reception, Saturday, a Sunday party, Lunch With a Scientist, two days of stellar research presentations (e.g. CASW’s New Horizons in Science), lab tours and field trips through Tuesday. Registration for the meeting opens August 15, 2014.

Trust me, this meeting will enrich you. Full agenda is here, but here are the highlights.

1. Saturday morning panel on Media Diversity, with NABJ Digital Taskforce Co-Chair Tracie Powell.

2. The Culture Dish Mixer, a chance for minority journalists connected to each other and to the larger science writing community and a mixer at ScienceWriters2014.

3. Sunday morning opening speaker, Brad Bushman will give a briefing on the New Horizons in Science. His research examines how stereotypes about race/ethnicity and gender are heightened by violent media and violent video games. His work and that of Mahzarin Banari’s, explores how the culture of violence may be nurturing racism and sexism. This definitely impacts news delivery across beats.

4. The Sunday program will also include discussions about the brave-new-world possibilities of “genome editing” and “gene drives” as well as the messages people are getting about genetically modified food crops. These technologies will require society to make careful policy choices. It’s important that all communities, especially those that have historically-tenuous relationships with science such as African-Americans, be well-informed about these new technologies and that diverse voices are heard. Speakers include George Church and Allison Snow.

5. Public health issues are of strong interest to minority communities and NABJ has a very active Healthy NABJ team. Maura Gillison will give a talk on HPV that will connect public health, individual behavior and genomic analysis to explain how she’s trying to reduce the incidence of head and neck cancer. In addition, the session by Jan Kiecolt-Glaser and Martha Belury on marital stress and health is going to make some surprising new connections with obesity and depression.

6. How to write for local and non-science publications. This session will feature freelance journalists who have found success pitching science-related news stories to smaller outlets and those that do not traditionally cover science. This session will be especially useful for journalists interested in pitching stories to minority-serving news outlets.

7. Plus there will be opportunities to meet and interview a number of scientists. Including leading Latino- and African-American scientists whose research impacts their communities and whose service works to diversity our US STEM workforce. Meet Alán Aspuru-Guzik, a lively scientist who has been a mentor to a number of Hispanic students and postdocs at Harvard. He’s enthusiastic about promoting interest in science, especially in his homeland of Mexico, and is also a great interview. Also meet Erich Jarvis, co-leader of a large avian phylogeny project that will make a multi-paper release this fall.

This meeting will be awesome. I want to see you there! Make plans to attend. But if you still need more info, check out these recaps from ScienceWriters2013 by CASW and KSJ Tracker; and prepare for the conference with advice from SciLance and Open Notebook.

Follow along on Twitter and connect to other conference attendees.

  • #SciWri14
  • #mediadiversity
  • #DivSciWri
  • @ScienceWriting
  • @ScienceWriters
  • @TheDarkSci
  • @CultureDish

danielle-lee2Dr. Danielle N. Lee is an NABJ and NASW member, a science blogger and co-founder of the National Science & Technology News Service.

Vote No for Proposed NABJ Constitutional Amendments

Thank you members of the NABJ Constitutional Committee for your hard work on our governance model and structure.

The amendment to change the way NABJ is governed has brought some serious debate over how our nonprofit organization should operate in a changing digital media landscape. I voted NO to amend the NABJ Constitution. Membership categories should not be expanded as outlined in the amendment.

For example, the emerging journalist category disenfranchises working journalists with less than five years experience. I joined NABJ as a student member in 1977, two years after the organization started. Like so many other young people during the first five years of our careers, we paid our dues, found our way to regional meetings, and if we were lucky, the national convention. By any means necessary.

As young leaders, we sought out leadership. We served in NABJ local chapters. We positioned ourselves to run for a seat on the national board. Our next generation of journalists should experience the extraordinary times that we did. And more.

We should not create an emerging journalist membership category that excludes members from serving on the national board during the first five years of their careers.

Sheila Brooks is a former NABJ Secretary (1986-91), a three-term national board member, founder of NABJ-TV and the NABJ Monitor, and NABJ member since 1977

Nominations Open for Victor Cohn Prize for Medical Science Reporting

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Here is a chance to nominate a colleague or self-nominate for the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing most prestigious prize – the Cohn Prize for excellence in medical science reporting.

The award celebrates a journalist who has produced a body of work that is tough, high-impact medical journalism. Since the award was launched in 2000, mostly reporters at larger mainstream media organizations have won the award. But freelancers are also eligible. There is a wealth of very impactful work written about health science produced at less-visible Black owned or regional outlets.

No doubt that the nomination committee has been missing out on great medical science reporting directed at minority audiences. This year, CASW will consider online work. This opens up a tremendous opportunity for NABJ members, specifically Healthy NABJ and Digital Journalism Task Force journalists.

The deadline to apply is Thursday, July 31, 2013. Apply online or by mail. Nominators and candidates may submit materials here.  Letters of

support may be uploaded either as part of the nomination package or via a separate submission form provided for recommenders.

Prize includes a $3,000 cash award and travel to ScienceWriters2014 annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio. More information about the award, including a list of previous awardees, is here.

Best of luck.

Interested in learning more about science writing and science writing career resources, then check out these Science and Diversity in Science Writing resources:

  • #DivSciWri = Diversity and Science Writing/Diverse Science Writers hashtag;
  • @TheDarkSci – Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to African-American audiences through media advocacy;
  • @CultureDish – Cultivating diversity in science writing; and
  • Voices: A blog at Scientific American that explores and celebrates diversity in science.

Additional Science and Health Science Writing resources:

  • @AHCJ – Association of Health Care Journalists is an independent, nonprofit org. improving health care journalism;
  • @ScienceWriting – Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. CASW organizes New Horizons in Science and other programs for science writers; and
  • @ScienceWriters – National Association of Science Writers fosters the dissemination of accurate information regarding science.

Dr. Danielle N. Lee, @DNLee5, is a science blogger and member of the National Science & Technology News Service.

Vote No to the NABJ Constitutional Amendment

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Thank you to members of the National Association of Black Journalists’ Constitutional Committee for your leadership and service. Your commitment to NABJ is commendable.

I voted NO to amend the NABJ Constitution for two reasons: one, this proposed new governance structure has no immediate profitable fiscal impact on NABJ. Rather, it increases the size of an already 14-person BIG board. So why remove two board positions and create two new board positions?

Over the past few years, the downturn in the economy has set a new standard among nonprofit leaders to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. That said, it’s prudent to reduce board positions and keep travel and expenses at a minimum. Let us also remember that in recent NABJ elections, we did not attract enough candidates to run for national office. Many of those seats were filled as appointments by a new president.

Two, the amendment doesn’t represent an overhaul of our governance model. Instead, it is the same structure we set up 40 years ago, with the addition of board members. Again, more costs. What we need is a national leadership model that outlines a financial sustainability plan to rely less on our cash reserves that are becoming more difficult to replenish year after year.

Therefore, I cannot support this amendment to the NABJ Constitution.

Sheila Brooks is a former NABJ Secretary (1986-91), a three-term national board member, the founder of NABJ-TV and the NABJ Monitor, and an NABJ member since 1977.

Take Your Journalism Career To The Next Level: Sign Up For The Executive Suite

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Every year at the National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention & Career Fair, members looking to move up the career ladder have access to a unique program: The Executive Suite, July 30-31, 2014.

The Executive Suite is an exclusive series of workshops led by news and corporate executives designed to help middle managers who aspire to more senior roles to gain a better sense of what it takes o be an executive editor, a publisher, a news director or a general manager.  Attendees of the two-day program walk away with a better understanding of the skills and relationships it takes to land and keep those jobs. From hiring and managing to building the skills and connections you’ll need to move up, the Executive Suite will help you prepare for advancement.

The speakers read like a who’s who of media executives, including:

  • David Boardman, President, American Society of News Editors;
  • Jill Geisler, Senior Faculty, Leadership and Management Programs, The Poynter Institute;
  • Deborah Adams Simmons, Vice President, News Development, Advance Local;
  • Alfredo Carbajal, Managing Editor, The Dallas Morning News/Al Dia;
  • Mizell Stewart, Senior Vice President, News, E. W. Scripps Newspapers; and
  • Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, Vice President, News, CBS News.

And there will be a special event on Thursday, July 31 when Keith Woods, Vice President of Diversity for NPR leads a conversation with Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., Publisher of the New York Times, and Dean Baquet, Executive Editor, of the Times.

The good news is that they are still taking applications — but only until Friday, July 25. So if you think you have what it takes — or know someone else who does — send an email coordinator Duschene Drew, Managing Editor for Operations, Newsroom at the Star-Tribune at  ddrew@startribune.com. And please put  Executive Suite in the subject line. In the email, tell him why you think you deserve to be in the Executive Suite. It wouldn’t hurt to include a resume or a link to your portfolio website. And please — pass this along to anyone you think may benefit from this great programming in Boston!

Benét J. Wilson is the vice president of education for the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force.  She also serves on the board of the Online News Association.  She is  the social media/eNewsletters editor for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and  a freelance aviation journalist and blogger.

Governance Survey Informs NABJ Commission

The National Association of Black Journalists is poised to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2015 – and with the future in mind its membership is voting on proposed changes to its primary governing document during a special election this summer. I urged support for the amendment in a prior post.

Last fall, the NABJ Constitutional Commission sought members’ input via two national surveys conducted online. About 100 did so each time. A governance survey focused on how NABJ could or should enhance its continuity and competency of leadership, consistency of purpose, institutional knowledge, etc. The survey introduction included this passage: “NABJ members every two years have elected a president to lead a national board of directors to govern the association.

According to our current constitution, the board of directors consists of an executive board (president, vice president-broadcast, vice president-print, secretary, treasurer, parliamentarian), six regional directors and one representative each for associate and student members. The president and representatives may not seek reelection; the other board members may serve up to terms in a row. It is possible for NABJ members to elect an entirely new board of directors every two years.”

NABJ’s constitution requires that amendments might only be adopted if ratified by at least two-thirds of those voting in an election. The commission therefore decided to not pursue any changes that members were unlikely to support based on the survey.

Q1: NABJ’s president should be able to seek reelection to a second term.

• Agree: 70

• Don’t Agree: 17

• Not Sure: 7

• Other: 1

The proposed amendment would allow the president to seek a single, additional two-year term, beginning with the 2017 election.

Q2: Should NABJ move to a limited “ladder” system of succession, in which members vote for both a president and president-elect (or vice president who would assume the presidency next)? Once the president’s term ends, the president-elect or vice president would succeed him or her.

• Agree: 36

• Don’t Agree: 40

• Not Sure: 18

• Other: 1

Many members either disagreed with this idea or were unsure of its merits – and thus the proposed amendment does not include a provision for a ladder system.

Q3: Should NABJ’s presidency be a paid, full-time position – rather than the current unpaid, voluntary role – in order to better meet the association’s demands (operations, advocacy, fundraising, membership recruitment/programs, chapter relations, etc.)?

• Yes: 29

• No: 43

• Not Sure: 17

• Other: 6

Many members either disagreed with this idea or were unsure of its merits – and thus the proposed amendment does not call for NABJ’s presidency to be a paid position.

Q4: NABJ members should continue to elect the board of directors, however, the top elected position would be board chairman. The chairman and board would hire a president or CEO to serve as primary spokesman and run the association’s daily operations (advocacy, fundraising, membership recruitment and programs, etc.).

• Agree: 35

• Don’t Agree: 37

• Not Sure: 21

• Other: 2

Many members either disagreed with this idea or were unsure of its merits – and thus the proposed amendment does not call for changing the top elected leadership position.

Q5: The size of NABJ’s board of directors should (choose one)

• Remain the same: 57

• Shrink to include fewer members: 26

• Increase to include more members: 6

• Other: 6

Not enough members seemed ready to reduce the board’s size to make it likely the idea would be ratified as part of an amendment in an election.

Q6: Should NABJ still elect each member of the board of directors to two-year terms, but now based on staggered terms? For example, one group of board seats would be up for election in one year, while a second group of seats would be contested the following year.

• Yes: 66

• No: 22

• Not Sure: 6

• Other: 1

The proposed amendment would allow for staggering board terms beginning with the 2015 election – and then an election held each year afterward.

Q7: NABJ members should elect one vice president instead of having multiple vice presidents (e.g., one each for print, broadcast, digital, journalism educators, etc.).

• Agree: 35

• Don’t Agree: 49

• Not Sure: 9

• Other: 2

Not enough members seemed ready to have only one vice president to make it likely the idea would be ratified as part of an amendment in an election.

Q8: NABJ members should elect at-large board members based on journalism skill sets and constituencies (for example, one each for print, broadcast, digital, journalism educators, etc.) more so than on geographic location (north, south, east, west, etc.).

• Agree: 49

• Don’t Agree: 29

• Not Sure: 17

• Other: 0

Too many members either disagreed with this idea, or were unsure of its merits, for it likely to be ratified – and so the proposed amendment accounts for leadership based on both where members live and what they do.

The commission thanks all those members who participated in the governance survey. It also urges all full NABJ members to support the proposed amendment – to ensure it enables us all to build an even stronger organization, one capable of serving and empowering new generations of black journalists.

Herbert Lowe served as NABJ’s president from 2003 to 2005 and is co-chairman of the constitutional commission. Previously a newspaper reporter for 22 years and communications director for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, he is the journalism professional in residence and director of journalism for social change at Marquette University in Milwaukee.