Water Resources Journalism Intensive (WRJI) 2020

As part of an effort to share Florida’s biggest water stories with broader audiences, the University of Florida Water Institute, the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute, Florida Sea Grant and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences organized the first ever Water Resources Journalism Intensive (WRJI), a crash course on how to cover a scientific conference for journalism students pursuing careers in science writing and communication. 

The WRJI centered around the 2020 UF Water Institute Symposium where students were assigned a topic to cover, attended related sessions and worked with experienced science communicators to get their stories in shape for publication on the Water Institute’s website here. 

In preparation for the Symposium students participated in a workshop hosted at the Florida Museum of Natural History to learn about how to structure a science news story, how to mine scientific conferences for story ideas, how to work with editors, how to find evidence-based information and how to interview a scientist.

“Scientific conferences like the Water Institute Symposium are ripe with stories that need to be told,” said Rebecca Burton, communications manager with the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute who is one of the founders of the new initiative. “I want journalism students to walk away from this program feeling confident about covering conferences in their future careers.”

The 2020 WRJI cohort includes five University of Florida graduate and undergraduate students from the College of Journalism and Communications. Click on the links to read their stories

Editors and mentors for the Water Resources Journalism Intensive are:

  • Czerne Reid, Lecturer and Program Director, Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Affiliate Faculty, Department of Journalism, College of Journalism and Communications
  • Natalie Van Hoose, Science Writer, Florida Museum of Natural History
  • Rhett Register, Communications Coordinator, Florida Sea Grant
  • Kirsten Romaguera, News Writer, UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

To learn more about the WRJI and future workshops, email Rebecca Burton at rlburton@floridamuseum.ufl.edu.