DEADLINE: Science Essentials for Political Reporters

Event Date: 
May 17, 2019

A practical primer for campaign coverage

WHAT: On August 4 - 6, 2019, SciLine will host Science Essentials for Political Reporters, an all-expenses-paid, 2½-day workshop designed to arm journalists — including those without deep backgrounds in science — with the knowledge and context they need to incorporate research-based evidence and data into their 2020 campaign coverage.

WHY: Issues are often debated during political campaigns as though they were solely matters of ideology or opinion. Yet behind many of these issues is a wealth of research findings that can add rigor to public discussion and ultimately inform the choices people make.

This non-partisan boot camp will include faculty presentations, networking opportunities, a field trip, and a special evening event. Academic experts from around the country will summarize the latest research and data relevant to key topics for the 2020 election cycle:

  • Energy and climate: Participants will learn about the current U.S. energy profile and trends, and what research says it would realistically take to meet variously proposed targets aimed at preventing the worst impacts of climate change.
  • Agriculture, water, and the environment: Experts will describe today’s precarious balance of agriculture, water-quality, and land-use issues—a deepening concern in rural communities where farming provides critical employment but is facing strains related to water usage, waste production, and pressure to maximize efficiency.
  • Immigration and trade: Social scientists and economic researchers will clarify what the data show about how immigration policies and trade rules influence local economies, jobs, and the health and resilience of U.S. communities.

The course will also highlight what’s new in the art and science of public opinion surveys and polling.   

WHEN & WHERE: The workshop will be held at the Drake University School of Journalism & Mass Communication in Des Moines, Iowa, from the evening of Sunday August 4 through the afternoon of Tuesday August 6. This is a no-cost event; all travel, accommodation, and program costs will be covered by SciLine’s philanthropic grants.

An optional add-on activity may be available on Wed. August 7 for those who wish to stay and participate. Note that the Iowa State Fair begins Thursday, August 8.

WHO SHOULD APPLY: This workshop is designed to be useful to political journalists without backgrounds in science and will feature clear, research-based presentations without preference for specific political or policy perspectives. Reporters on other beats who cover campaign-relevant issues are also welcome to apply. Application deadline: May 17.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Science Essentials for Political Reporters is offered by SciLine, a philanthropically supported, free service for journalists, based at the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science. SciLine’s mission is to strengthen news stories by facilitating the inclusion of research-derived evidence.

The course is hosted by the Drake University School of Journalism & Mass Communication. Drake educates strategic, global thinkers with diverse media and communication skills and a solid ethical underpinning who are prepared to respond to a rapidly changing media culture.

Event Details