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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Lisa Cugini, (401) 874-6642

News Editors to Meet in Providence for
Seminar on Science and Journalism

Narragansett, R.I. -- April 14, 2003 -- The Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting and The Providence Journal are co-sponsoring Science Beyond Politics, a seminar for news editors, on April 24-25 at the Providence Journal Building in Providence.

The seminar will feature, on Thursday, an opening lecture by Dr. Margaret Leinen, Assistant Director for Geosciences, National Science Foundation, titled "Balanced News Reporting: A Challenge for Science and Journalism." Her lecture will focus on how scientists and editors can work together to explain issues fairly and accurately.

The day-long seminar on Friday will highlight a number of topics, addressed by noted scientists, journalists, and environmental policy experts. In a lecture on the "Constituency of Ignorance," Cornelia Dean, Science Editor, The New York Times, will discuss how science makes the news. Eric Schaeffer, Director, The Environmental Integrity Project, will speak on "Environmental Reporting: Distinguishing Opinion from Fact."

The news editors will take part in a panel discussion on "Brayton Point: Explaining Complex Stories," moderated by editor Bud Ward, that will focus on how editors can provide guidance to their staff in covering science-based stories, pitfalls to avoid, and what makes an issue like Brayton Point a page-one story.

Other workshop leaders include Rick Greenwood, Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, Mark Van Noppen, The Armory Revival Company, and Sandra Whitehouse, Environmental Consultant, who lead a walking tour along the Woonasquatucket River in Providence. Journalist and author Ross Gelbspan will speak on the current and potential impacts of climate change in "Climate Change: Drama Camouflaged as Science."

The seminar will close with a roundtable discussion on "News in the Near Future."

The Metcalf Institute was established in 1997 with an endowment from the foundations of three news organizations: A.H. Belo Corporation, owner of the Dallas Morning News and parent company of The Providence Journal, The Providence Journal Company, and the Philip Graham Fund, the foundation of The Washington Post. Additional funding was provided by the Telaka Foundation. The institute was established with the intent of helping journalists become better informed about science and research and to strengthen communication between journalists and scientists.

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