April 17, 2003

News editors to meet in Providence for seminar on Science and Journalism

Providence, RI --The Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting and The Providence Journal are co-sponsoring "Science Beyond Politics," a seminar for news editors, April 24th and 25th at The Providence Journal, 75 Fountain Street, downtown Providence.

The seminar will feature, on Thursday, an opening lecture by Dr. Margaret Leinen, assistant director for Geosciences, National Science Foundation, titled "Balanced News Reporting: A Challenge for science and journalism." Her lecture will focus on how scientists and editors can work together to explain issues fairly and accurately.

The day-long seminar on Friday will highlight a number of topics, addressed by noted scientists, journalists, and environmental policy experts. In a lecture on the "Constituency of Ignorance," Cornelia Dean, science editor, The New York Times, will discuss how science makes the news. And, Eric Schaeffer, director of The Environmental Integrity Project, will speak on "Environmental Reporting: Distinguishing Opinion from Fact."

The news editors will take part in a panel discussion on "Brayton Point: Explaining Complex Stories," moderated by Environmental Writer magazine editor Bud Ward, that will focus on how editors can provide guidance to their staff in covering science-based stories, pitfalls to avoid, and what makes an issue like Brayton Point a page-one story.

Other workshop leaders include Rick Greenwood, Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, Mark Van Noppen, The Armory Revival Company, and Sandra Whitehouse, environmental consultant who will lead a walking tour along the Woonasquatucket River in Providence. Journalist and author Ross Gelbspan will speak on the current and potential impacts of climate change in "Climate Change: Drama Camouflaged as Science."

The day-long seminar will close with a roundtable discussion on "News in the Near Future."

Journalists and news editors can register for the seminar by calling 401.874.6211 or 401.874.6500.

About The Metcalf Institute
The Metcalf Institute was established in 1997 with an endowment from the foundations of three news organizations: Belo Corp., owner of The Dallas Morning News and parent company of The Providence Journal, The Providence Journal Company, and the Philip Graham Fund, the foundation of The Washington Post. Additional funding was provided by the Telaka Foundation. The institute was established with the intent of helping journalists become better informed about science and research and to strengthen communication between journalists and scientists.