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Learning from the best: ABC’s ‘Researchers in Residence’ Program

03
May 2018

Posted By

Lucy Rosamund

During Australia’s National Science Week, Jodie took over the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) Snapchat account and used funny captions and emojis to engage young people with her science.

Posting snaps to social media isn’t how we usually imagine our top scientists spend their day, but Dr Jodie Rummer, Principal Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies believes that needs to change.

As one of ABC’s ‘Top 5 Scientists Under 40,’ Jodie spent two weeks at the ABC ‘Researchers in Residence’ program in Sydney where she was trained by the best to communicate like a pro.

“Every level of connecting science with different audiences – we learnt it,” she said.

“From sitting backstage at Q&A, to live radio with Dr. Karl, it was a non-stop, but incredible journey. We got to see the inner workings of the ABC, which was illuminating,” Jodie said.

During her residency, Jodie made valuable connections with journalists and saw, first-hand, how they sifted through their daily deluge of media releases.

Because of this, Jodie has a much clearer idea of what they’re looking for and how they choose what gets picked up in mass media. She was also able to build relationships with journalists and now, can contact them about new research.

“The ABC wants science from scientists – I still get calls all the time. I’m now a go-to person for on-camera and radio,” Jodie said.

These networks have created ongoing opportunities, and since then she has been invited to participate in new projects.

And, to the scientists who think jumping in front of a camera sounds scary, Jodie says not to worry! She saw many talented scientists working behind the scenes – choosing stories, researching issues, writing and editing. There’s so much diversity in how scientists can contribute.

For Jodie, the importance of communicating science cannot be overstated. “One of the big successes of our research is a well-informed electorate. If the public learns about our research and its implications, it can help them make better decisions.”

And, to researchers who want to enter this year’s competition, Jodie has some tips:

  • Think about your strengths, and areas you want to build into strengths.
  • Not everyone is going to have a sexy, interesting research topic, but anything can be turned into that.
  • A lot of scientists get tunnel vision – but thinking big picture is really important. How can your research make the world a better place?

The ABC’s “Top 5 Media Residency Program” runs every year for PhD qualified early career researchers in science and humanities. Applications close on the 9th of May 2018. Check it out here.

To learn about Jodie’s research, check out her lab’s Facebook page and Instagram account.

Editor’s note: Lucy is a social science PhD candidate with ARC CoralCoE. She has experience in communications and outreach from her previous role with the Centre for International Forestry Research in Indonesia.

She is currently a columnist for the CoralCoE science blog on a volunteer basis.

Dr. Jodie Rummer was one of five early career researchers selected by the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) for the Top 5 Under 40 competition in 2016. Credit: ARC CoE for Coral Reef Studies/ Jodie Rummer
Dr. Jodie Rummer was one of five early career researchers selected by the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) for the Top 5 Under 40 competition in 2016. Credit: ARC CoE for Coral Reef Studies/ Jodie Rummer

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ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au