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UM News
December 06, 2012

MISSOULA

The University of Montana, in partnership with the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, will offer “Journalistic Tools for Scientists,” a Wintersession online course for graduate students in the sciences.

The course breaks new ground in helping scientists communicate with the general public by sharing the tools of the trade employed by seasoned journalists.

“Journalists are trained to speak the language of the general public, and that language is different from the vernacular used in the sciences,” said course instructor and veteran journalist Henriette Lowisch. “By sharing practical journalistic skills, we intend to help scientists do a better job spreading the word about research and discoveries that are important to the future of humanity.”

The National Science Foundation EPSCoR program, a federally funded program to promote the development of science and technology capacity in the U.S., provided grant money for the course, which was developed in collaboration with the UM Systems Ecology Intercollegiate Graduate Program.

The course will be taught entirely online during UM’s compact Wintersession, Jan. 2-23. UMOnline, a program housed within the School of Extended and Lifelong Learning, employs a team of graphic and instructional designers who helped develop a series of RSA-style animated lectures and social media to make the course as engaging as possible.

Lowisch, an associate professor at the UM School of Journalism, also directs the graduate program in environmental science and natural resource journalism. Before joining the UM faculty, she worked for the Agence France-Presse in Berlin, covering climate negotiations and creating a health and science desk for AFP’s German Service.

Lowisch notes that news is created in a few hours, while scientific research is completed over years. Both professions, however, share certain principles, including objective methods, a focus on independent thought and peer review.

Registration for “Journalistic Tools for Scientists” is now open, but limited. Interested students can visit http://www.umt.edu/journalismtools to learn more and to register. For more information call Lowisch at 406-243-2227 or email henriette.lowisch@umontana.edu.

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Contact: Henriette Lowisch, associate professor and graduate program director, UM School of Journalism, 406-243-2227, henriette.lowisch@umontana.edu; Beth Burman Frazee, marketing direcotr, UM School of Extended and Lifelong Learning, 406-243-6721, beth.burman-frazee@umontana.edu.