2016 Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows with AAAS CEO Rush Holt in front of the AAAS building for the fellowship Wrap-Up and Poster Session Celebration | AAAS/Rebekah Corlew
Current events suggest that reverence for scientific evidence is on the decline, while ideology, whims and hunches seem to be guiding factors in critical decision making. Moreover, dangerous trends such as ‘fake news’ continue to gain popularity, making it increasingly difficult to ensure that critical decisions are being made with the most accurate, fact-based information.
AAAS’s Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellowship program is working to address issues like these and bring science to the public. Since 1974, the program has placed over 700 bright, early-career scientists with a passion for communication at newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations, and elsewhere all over the country. For ten weeks each summer, our fellows are deployed to cover the 'science beat.' They use their academic training as they research, write, and report on today’s headlines. Often they are the only people available to distill complex scientific topics for wide audiences.
For many years, AAAS and our partners have sponsored 15-20 fellows at essentially the same institutions year to year. In 2017, we have seen a barrage of requests for fellows from media institutions that have never before participated. Indeed, outlets like The Washington Post, The Smithsonian Magazine, ScIQ YouTube, Nautilus, and others expressed interest in hosting a fellow. We were able to meet some of those requests due to the generous gifts of individual donors giving large and small donations from $25 - $5,000. This year we hope to continue those placements and add additional high profile sites that have since asked for a fellow for 2018.
Aaron Sidder (2016 Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellow placed at National Geographic) poses in front of one of NatGeo's iconic images | AAAS/Rebekah Corlew
The demand is larger than ever—yet, because it’s unanticipated, we don’t have the resources to accommodate these requests. In order to expand the program to meet this growing demand, we need your help today.
By donating to the Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellowship program, you will help ensure that:
- Science and scientific evidence are fairly and accurately represented in the media
- Individuals in charge of making big decisions and determining policy have access to the best science available
- The general public understands the important role that science and engineering play in addressing the challenges facing our global community, and so much more.
A number of past fellows have written about their experiences with the program. From Slate, to the Scientific American, participants found a passion for science writing during their fellowship—a passion that many may not have discovered without AAAS. Aaron Sidder, a 2016 Mass Media Fellow at National Geographic, spoke about the importance of programs like these:
“We scientists must strive to promote the value of evidence-based thinking and help educate a public that does not always understand or appreciate science. We can do this best through clear and engaging communication, not journal articles or conference posters.. [by] embracing simplicity in our explanation of science to nonscientists.” – Sidder, A. (2016), From science to storytelling: An experiment in journalism, EOS
Please make a tax-deductible donation to the AAAS Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellowship program today.