Lunch and Learn

What makes a great physics news story, and the best way to tell it

Learn from leading science journalists and lab communicators

Monday, August 8th
13:20 - 14:05
Chicago Ballroom

For many researchers, science is the easy part. Communicating that science to a media whose motives can seem confusing – and to a public that can seem indifferent – is more challenging. This session will provide researchers with an introduction to the multifaceted global media landscape, and how their science stories can fit into that landscape. A panel including journalists from the BBC and Washington Post and press officers from the UK and Japan will explain the different types of media outlets and what types of stories they’re looking for, will provide tips on pitching stories to different reporters with different needs, and will answer questions from the audience. Participants will leave with a handy checklist of what to expect when pitching to media.

Box lunches will be available for purchase on the Riverwalk.


Rachel Feltman, The Washington Post

Rachel Feltman pic

Rachel Feltman is Editor of The Washington Post's Speaking of Science blog, which she launched in July of 2014. Before starting at The Post, she received a master's from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and wrote for outlets including Quartz, The Atlantic, Scientific American, and Popular Mechanics. She also has a degree in environmental science from Simon's Rock.

Speaking of Science covers a broad range of scientific topics, from microbes to monster black holes. Rachel and her team of bloggers and freelancers love making seemingly inaccessible science news both compelling and easily digestible for a broad range of readers.

Pallab Ghosh, BBC News

Pallab Ghosh pic

Pallab Ghosh is a science correspondent for BBC News. He reports on developments in science, technology, medicine and environment. He began his career in 1984 at the British Electronics and Computer Press before joining New Scientist as the magazine's Science News Editor. Pallab joined BBC News in 1989, where he went on to become a Senior Producer on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme. He is a former Chair of the Association of British Science Writers and past-President of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ). He was named Science Journalist of the Year last year in the Press Gazette British Journalism Awards. He has also won the Media Natura Environment Award, a Hugo Award and has been named BT Technology Journalist of the Year.

Terry O'Connor, Science and Technology Facilities Council

Terry O'Connor pic

Terry O’Connor is the Head of Communications for the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which is one of Europe's largest multi-disciplinary research organisations with responsibility for particle and nuclear physics, astronomy, space science, UK membership of CERN and other international research organisations, and for operating a network of research labs across the UK. Prior to joining STFC in 2008, he held similar positions for a range of Australian Government bodies including the national air traffic control company and the national trade facilitation body. His early career was as a reporter for the Australian national wire service AAP, rising to Chief Political Correspondent, before working for a Government minister as press secretary and then senior policy adviser.

Saeko Okada, KEK

Saeko Okada pic

Saeko Okada is Head of the Public Relations Office at KEK, the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization in Japan. Trained in biochemistry at the University of Tsukuba, she worked in a laboratory at Hitachi before a ten-year stint as a freelance medical writer. In 2003 she moved into public relations, working first at the University of Tokyo before spending nine years at RIKEN. In 2012 Saeko became the head of the KEK public relations office. At KEK her work varies from media relations to planning and organizing outreach events. She is a member of and the chair of the Japan Association of Communication for Science and Technology. She is often asked to speak on science communication and writing topics at research institutes and universities.