DEADLINE: Covering Community Impacts of Oil & Gas Development

Event Date: 
July 26, 2019

Oil and gas development contributes to the U.S. economy, employs workers, and plays an important role in meeting the country’s energy needs. Extensive research has shown, however, that this activity also affects the Earth’s climate and poses health and environmental risks for nearby communities. Scientific evidence and context can add rigor to journalistic coverage of these complex tradeoffs and ultimately inform the choices that people make.

On October 23-25, 2019, SciLine will host Community Impacts of Oil & Gas Development, an all-expenses-paid, 2½-day workshop designed to arm journalists — including those without deep backgrounds in science — with the knowledge and context they need to incorporate research-based evidence into stories about how oil and gas development is affecting U.S. communities. This non-partisan boot camp will include an opening keynote by Dr. John P. Holdren, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Harvard University and former Chief Science Advisor to President Obama, as well as faculty presentations, networking opportunities, and a field trip to a working shale-energy well site. Participants will get up to speed on the latest research and state of science relevant to:

  • Energy & Climate: How oil and gas development fits into the broader picture of variously proposed efforts to prevent the worst impacts of climate change;
  • Environmental Impacts: How oil and gas development affects species, habitats, and local ecosystems, as well as potential risks for induced seismic activity;
  • Public Health Impacts: The human health risks of living near oil and gas development projects; and
  • Disparities: The ways in which underserved communities are particularly affected by all of the above and more.

The boot camp will be held at the Penn State University Park campus in State College, Pennsylvania, from the evening of Wednesday October 23 through the afternoon of Friday October 25, just prior to ScienceWriters2019, the combined annual meeting of the National Association of Science Writers and the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. This is a no-cost event; all travel, accommodation, and program costs will be covered by SciLine’s philanthropic grants. (Please see the application page for details about an option for extending your stay for ScienceWriters2019.)

This workshop is designed to be useful to journalists who already cover or may in the future cover stories related to the impacts of oil and gas development in their communities. The course will be accessible to reporters without deep backgrounds in science and will feature clear, research-based presentations without preference for specific political or policy perspectives.

Community Impacts of Oil & Gas Development is being offered by SciLine, a philanthropically supported, free service for journalists, based at the nonprofit American Association for the Advancement of Science. SciLine’s mission is to strengthen news stories by facilitating the inclusion of research-derived evidence—with the ultimate goal of informing the public. The course is hosted by Penn State, Pennsylvania’s sole land-grant institution, whose mission embraces teaching, research, public engagement, and service.

Space is limited. SciLine aims to serve journalists representing a variety of geographic regions, media platform types, and media market sizes.

Event Details