Student journalists and online interactions enliven New Horizons 2013

An experimental “student newsroom” and sessions crafted to enhance participation by online audiences were among the innovations that marked the 51st New Horizons in Science briefings, hosted by the University of Florida Nov. 3-4, 2013 as part of ScienceWriters2013.

During the conference, a group of UF student journalists worked with experienced mentors and editors under the direction of CASW officer Charlie Petit in the newsroom, producing stories featured on the New Horizons Newsroom page and published elsewhere. The student writers, some of whom were covering science for the first time, produced short pieces after choosing topics and speakers from the New Horizons program.


In an effort to broaden the impact of the New Horizons program, CASW President Alan Boyle collaborated with Fraser Cain of Universe Today and “Bald Astronomer” Scott Lewis of Know the Cosmos to present George T. Whitesides’ session on the future of spaceflight to an international audience as a Google hangout.

Whitesides’ presentation was followed by 30 minutes of lively give-and-take with ScienceWriters2013 attendees and the online audience; the entire session is archived here. Amanda Mascarelli, a CASW travel fellow, captured some of the chatter during the session in a Storify curation, and two University of Florida students contributed coverage to the Newsroom:

Finally, CASW recorded an experimental session designed to meld content and craft. During the session, veteran science writer Maryn McKenna of Wired Science interviewed two scientists from the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute. The scientists, J. Glenn Morris Jr. and Gregory Gray, discussed current crises and the challenges of working with governments to head off the threat of pandemic. A video of that session can be found here.