Dunn School news writers hone journalism skills in Voices from Oxford masterclass

Dunn School news writers hone journalism skills in Voices from Oxford masterclass

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Photo credit: David Edwardson, Voices from Oxford

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Photo credit: David Edwardson, Voices from Oxford

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Photo credit: David Edwardson, Voices from Oxford

Dunn School graduate students and post-docs attended a science communication and writing masterclass on Monday 12th February.  They heard tips and advice from three experts about how to better communicate their scientific research and findings.

Voices from Oxford (VOX) co-founders Professor Denis Noble and Dr Sung Hee Kim gave presentations on how to communicate to the public and media through both spoken and written formats.  Professor William James, VOX Editor-at-Large and Dunn School group leader, held an interactive open circle discussion.

Sonia Muliyil, head of the news desk, said, "It is becoming increasingly important for scientists to communicate their science to the general public. It is important both from the perspective of securing grants for our research, as well as to excite colleagues about the work we do. This masterclass was an attempt to hone our skills in this regard, by bringing experts from the field of science communication to the Dunn School. I hope this tradition will continue into the future."

All three speakers have considerable expertise in public outreach and media engagement.  Professor Denis Noble is author of ‘The Music of Life’ and a highly experienced writer and presenter.  He gave helpful insights on efficient communication and key aspects of article writing, as well as examples of vivid analogies that could be used for research topics that the audience were working on.  These included a comparison between chromosomes in cell division and dancers being separated by puppet strings.

Dr Sung Hee Kim, famous in the Korean media and renowned for her work across several continents, shared valuable experiences of her career working closely with both the print and visual media. In particular, she discussed how to deal with journalists, the necessity to act quickly, and the importance of networking.

Former University Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor William James included thoughts on how to better explain the importance of fundamental research to the public.  The sessions were all interactive and attendees were encouraged to participate in discussions. A resounding message that came from the masterclass was that practice and experience are the keys to improvement.

The majority of the attendees were members of the Dunn School news desk team, a recently formed group that highlights recent news and publications from the department. The two main purposes of the news desk team are to communicate the events and science that occur within the Dunn School to the wider world, and to give those involved the opportunity to develop their writing and communication skills.

The Dunn School news desk team also discussed potential future collaborations with Voices from Oxford.

To watch the videos and learn more from Voices from Oxford visit: http://voicesfromoxford.org/video/dunn-school-science-communication-masterclass/838

Written by Heather Jeffery & Voices from Oxford

Monday, February 19, 2018 - 11