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.
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. Read their stories here:
Editors and mentors for the Water Resources Journalism Intensive are:
To learn more about the WRJI and future workshops, email Rebecca Burton at firstname.lastname@example.org.