April 20, 2009
Source: Piedmont 2007

Wilson, Kris
Journalism Program


Project Summary

I've taught Science Journalism, Science Communication, and Environmental Journalism previously, but made substantial changes to my new course this fall at Emory based on my Piedmont Project experience.

First, I’ve incorporated a “Writing with all your senses” exercise early in the semester modeled on the great nature walks we took as part of the Piedmont Project workshop. I’ve adapted it some by asking students to spend a full half hour quiet some place new---while I encourage them to find a quiet spot in nature to do so, they can choose any location as long as it is new and they are quiet and observe as much as possible with all their senses. I tried this in my week-long “Science Journalism” boot camp for graduate students this summer and they all loved it and it was a great way to introduce to them the idea of listening, smelling, seeing, touching (and even tasting) to give the reader a sense of their experience.

Second, in addition to global climate change, I’ve incorporated the idea of sustainability as an over arching theme for our entire semester. The class is focused on science and health writing and both sustainability and climate change are so large and so encompassing to allow each student to choose topics of their own that can fit under those umbrellas. We will begin with sustainability using some of the readings provided for us in the workshop, as well as some others I’ve located to frame a foundation of what the term means and how it can be applied to a wide range of science and health issues. I’ve already asked Ciannat Howett to speak to the class about the proposals Emory is making with regards to sustainability as another way to introduce the concept.

Ultimately I’ve adapted the course to use these two larger themes to provide a thread to connect all the varied and diverse topics we’ll cover in the course and to create a cohesive model for our final projects that will be posted to our web site. I expect that several of them will be as strong as work in previous classes and that their publication on our web site will serve as an excellent resource for the Emory community (and beyond) to learn more about these topics.

Course Syllabus attached.

Download: Wilson_2007.pdf (88.5 KB)

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