AIRblast | April 2015
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Citizen Science and 
Public Media? Sounds Good

By Lily Bui 

Lily BuiBroadcasting, believe it or not, comes from farming.

In modern vernacular, “to broadcast” means to transmit information by TV or radio, but the verb’s original definition meant “to scatter (seeds) by hand or machine rather than placing in drills or rows.” It may or may not come as a surprise to you that broadcasting has just as much to do with farming and media as it has to do with citizen science.

In 1792, Robert B. Thomas started the Old Farmers’ Almanac, a periodical circulated widely and regularly to farmers. Still in publication today, the Almanac serves two important purposes: It acts as an objective reference for weather and astronomical predictions, sourcing its observations from the farming community, and it facilitates a space where the community can share advice, anecdotes, recipes, and more with each other.

But what does this have to do with citizen science?

Think about it this way: the Almanac is not far from how some citizen science efforts are built: it incorporates public knowledge into a larger corpus of information predicated upon a scientific question. The Almanac also illustrates another important concept  —  that this process does not happen in a vacuum.

Citizen science cultivates community. We might conjecture from the Almanac that communities often need a means of communicating to themselves and to each other. And that, dear reader, is where media comes in. [READ MORE]

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From the Archive: Let's Change Up Pubmedia | Stephanie Foo

Grants, Fellowships and Awards

The Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism
Signup Deadline: April 1, 2015
Details: The The Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism provides grants of up to $10,000 for reporting on critical health issues facing underserved communities.

N.S. Bienstock Fellowship
Deadline: April 30, 2015
Details: An award established in 1999 by Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper, the original owners of N.S. Bienstock. The award recognizes a promising minority journalist in radio or television news. Winners are awarded $2,500 and invited to attend the Excellence in Journalism conference.

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