Welcome to the zombie Oyster’s Garter, resurrected from the blogular grave to eat your braaains. Or at least to pick your brains (which in the context of zombies sounds most distressing.). At the upcoming Science Online conference, I will be co-moderating a panel called “Talking Trash: Online Outreach from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” The other panelists are freelance journalist Lindsey Hoshaw, who made news this summer by crowdsourcing her trip to the North Pacific and writing about it in the New York Times, and photographer/videographer/ocean advocate Annie Crawley, who was with me on the R/V New Horizon as a documentarian for Project Kaisei. (Bonnie Monteleone was originally going to be on the panel but unfortunately had a scheduling conflict.)
We are planning on letting our panel be largely audience-driven, but we would like to get a feel for what you are interested in. (If you are not attending Science Online, fret not – our session will be either livestreamed or recorded or both – if livestreamed you can ask questions on the web.) I can’t speak for my co-moderators, but I don’t want this session to get too hung up on specific marine debris issues – I think it would be much more interesting to talk about our experience trying to meld real-time science, nonprofit advocacy, outreach, and journalism.
Here are some preliminary questions. Please comment and tell us what you think. This is also posted at the Science Online wiki, and you are invited to comment there as well.
- Why is the media & the public so interested in trash in the ocean? Can this interest be leveraged/created for other issues?
- We are three people with different perspectives on what is important in communication: a scientist, a journalist, and a journalist-artist-filmmaker-documentarian.
- What were our disagreements? Here’s a few examples off the top of my head: I did not agree with much of Lindsey’s NYT article; Annie had a tough time getting stressed-out scientists (me included!) to work with her while at sea, SIO is an academic institution while Project Kaisei and AMRF are nonprofit advocacy groups.
- Do we as scientists/journalist/artists have a common goal? Beyond Littering Is Bad? Is loving the ocean enough?
- If we do have a common goal, what are lessons learned from this summer? What would we do differently next time?
- Can we offer advice to other scientists/journalists/artists trying to work together?
- How can scientists, journalists, and educators balance “exciting findings live from the field!” with “highly preliminary unpublished non-peer-reviewed data that our labwork might contradict”? For example, one thing that is tough with advocacy and education is the scientific emphasis on peer-reviewed publication – the timescale is waaaay too slow for good real-time communication. How can we be accurate, entertaining, and educational?
Here’s some background on our experiences in the Gyre:
- SEAPLEX outreach website
- SEAPLEX blog
- SEAPLEX Twitter
- Response to Lindsey’s NYT article
- Video of me explaining SEAPLEX, from before we went to sea
- Blog from SEAPLEX
- Videos from SEAPLEX (not all in playlist are Annie’s – look for Dive Imagination at the beginning)
- Photos from SEAPLEX
- Google map with more videos
- Dive Into Your Imagination main site
- Spot.us fundraising page
- NYT article
- Some blog entries on the Spot.us funding: PBS, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review