Right Turn: Lessons about science communications from a six-year-old podcaster

Author: Laine Jaremey, 04/28/17

What were you doing when you were six years old? When I was six, I was building forts with couch cushions and playing with toys.

A six-year-old named Nate from Illinois, USA, achieves much more in his free time than I did when I was a child. Nate started his own podcast called “The Show About Science” about two years ago (with the help of his dad). On his podcast, Nate interviews scientists about topics like climate change, evolution and physics. Nate’s show also covered regenerative medicine in a recent episode called “Cracking the Genetic Code.” He spoke with Kevin Esvelt, PhD, Director of the Sculpting Evolution Lab at MIT, about genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9 technology (you can listen at the link below).

From my perspective as a communications professional, there are examples of good science communications on the show. I’ve included three, listed below, that scientists should remember when preparing for media interviews, when sharing science on social media or when presenting a talk to an audience of non-scientists.

  1. Use language that everyone can understand. Nate interviews scientists who understand complex theories and processes. But, they look at their work with a different lens when speaking with Nate. Guests cut out jargon, speak in plain language and provide simple anecdotes to ensure their messages are clear and simple.
  2. Remember that science can be fun! Nate’s voice is filled with curiosity and it sounds like he can’t wait to hear the answers to his questions. Interviewees speak with equal excitement and seem thrilled to share information with him. The result is a compelling podcast that’s easy to listen to and retain information from. Keep this in mind as you talk about your own science. Engage your audience with enthusiasm and a well-modulated voice.
  3. Think the public isn’t interested in your research? Think again. The public is interested in more advanced and diverse scientific topics than one might expect. This is revealed in the questions Nate asks his guests, which are quite sophisticated! Your research can pique the interest of the public if you talk about it in a way that resonates with a broad audience (see points 1 and 2, above).

Have you ever listened to Nate’s podcast? Not that six-year-old me is jealous, but his podcast now attracts about 4,000 listeners per episode.

Want to learn more about science communications? Check out my posts about OIRM’s 2016 Science Communications Workshop here and here.

 

 

Our regular feature, Right Turn, appears every Friday and we invite you to submit your own blog to info(at)ccrm.ca. We encourage you to be creative and use the right (!) side of your brain. We dare you to make us laugh! Right Turn features cartoons, photos, videos and other content to amuse, educate and encourage discussion.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the comment section.

 

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Laine Jaremey

Laine Jaremey

Laine is a Communications Specialist at CCRM. Laine has a thorough understanding of healthcare communications, having previously worked in public relations agencies with clients in the pharmaceuticals, biologics, consumer health, medical device and nutrition industries. At CCRM, she is building upon this knowledge and generating an awareness of the ever-advancing regenerative medicine and stem cell fields, while supporting the company with strategic communications. Laine completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Relations at Humber College in Toronto, ON. Follow Laine on Twitter at @lainejaremey and get to know her a bit better!
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