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Media Relations & Writing


As communicators, the strength of our media relations and writing is essential in helping the public to better understand the findings of science and how scientific discovery affects our lives and the world. As an ACE Learning Community, we strive to provide opportunities to hone your skills, to become a more expansive thinker, to support your organization's missions, and to connect more profoundly with your intended audiences.

If you are a practitioner or teacher of news writing, magazine writing, promotional writing, scriptwriting, and writing in special publications, for social media, and for the web, we encourage you to join this community to discuss writing as it relates to your work, and share ideas, techniques, and samples of good writing.


Media Relations & Writing Leadership

 Chair James Thigpen
International Fertilizer Center jthigpen@ifdc.org
 Vice Chair
 Beverly James
University of Florida beverlymjames@ufl.edu
 Vice Chair Elect
 Lori Wright
University of New Hampshire lori.wright@unh.edu

Guest Speaker: ACE Media Relations and Writing Learning Committee Business Meeting
Tuesday, June 25, 1:45 to 3 p.m.
2019 ACE Annual Conference

A Personally Painful Case Study in Ag Climate Science Denial from Ten Years Ago: We Failed. What Was the Best Response?
James Giese, Former Ag Science Communicator

From 2008 to 2011, American beliefs about climate change shifted dramatically. Those believing that climate change was happening dropped from 71 percent in 2008 to 59 percent in 2011. James Giese was an experienced science communicator working to advance the scientific consensus about climate change. During this same period, belief in the scientific consensus about climate change dropped from 46 percent to 33 percent. It has taken a decade for these belief percentages to recover. Here he was an experienced science communicator working on climate science issues from 2008 to 2011. “Obviously, we/I failed to communicate climate science,” he says. In this presentation, Giese will present a case study about his experience for attendees to consider. How would you have responded? Are there any lessons that can help you in learning about what went wrong? What recent successes have you had communicating about climate change?

James Giese was raised and worked on a truck patch growing fruits and vegetables in Arkansas. He has a master’s in food science. He started his career as a food technologist for ConAgra, and then switched to ag journalism, writing, and communications. He has been a communications director at several nonprofit associations, a university, and a state agency. Currently, he is a marketing director with a financial service nonprofit that works with individuals with disabilities. No longer in science communications, Giese offers us a transparent assessment of this case study.

Articles for those of you who work to help
farmers and Ag. Researchers tell their story

Professional Development Sessions

How to Effectively Communicate Science – March 16, 2016

Is it sometimes challenging to make a research story sound interesting? Hard to get anyone excited about your story? Tough to get researchers to think about something from a non-Ph.D. perspective? You’re not alone.

But with a few tips and tools, you can easily make anyone care about the most esoteric of findings. Join us as we go over some of the best ways — and biggest pitfalls — to write about science.

Click here for archive link.

How to start (and finish) a novel - February 10, 2016

Have you ever thought of writing a book? If so, your biggest questions might be “How do I start?” and “How do I finish?” Two novelists will answer these questions for you in this 45-minute ACE Writing Leadership Community webinar.

The webinar will include Ron Rash, author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel Serena.

The session will start with a presentation by Jim Melvin, a writer for PSA communications at Clemson University. Melvin has written six published novels — an adult epic fantasy series titled The Death Wizard Chronicles — and three other novels that are currently agent-represented. Melvin was a longtime journalist at three major newspapers before joining Clemson in January 2015.

Click here for archive link.

Get out of the middle of the road! Writing and pitching effective opinion essays – January 20, 2016

University faculty are used to staying in the middle of the road on important issues. Sometimes, it's important to pick and publicize a side. Or to offer a perspective on an issue the public thinks it already fully understands. Hear from two university writers who develop and distribute essays, columns, and commentaries for their institutions. Learn the basics of coaching faculty how to develop and write strong opinion pieces. Get tips on pitching to targeted media outlets. Another in a series of professional development programs offered by ACE learning communities for media relations, writing, leadership and management.

Click here for archive link.

Creating Local Style Entries in the AP Stylebook Online – December 15, 2015

In this brief webinar (about 20 minutes), you will learn how to merge your organization’s local style guides with the AP Stylebook Online, giving you one place to look up both AP style entries and those unique to your operation. It’s very easy. It’s also a way to underscore that your organization really does have local style rules. They’re right there in the AP Stylebook.

Click here for archive link.

Reader to Writer: C’mon, Man! - October 13, 2016

If you missed the 2015 ACE Conference in Charleston, join us for an insightful session that’s sure to polish your writing skills. Keith Robinson, coordinator of news and public affairs at Purdue University, will present a 30 minute conference called, Reader to Writer: C’mon, Man! This conference will provide guidelines for explaining basic information that is easily overlooked in our writing and also helps writers simplify complex information for their respective audiences.

Click here for archive link.

Are you publishing accessibility? Learn more with these resources:

Did you know about these resources? Go eXtension!

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