Phoenix alumni gather to look at science journalism issues

Carol Schwalbe and Alan Weisman discussed the importance of having well-trained journalists who can cover complex issues involving science and the environment.

What are some of the most important -- yet underreported -- stories of the day and how can we train journalists to better understand and communicate complex issues to lay readers?

Those were some of the questions that were discussed at a gathering focused on science journalism Feb. 7 in Phoenix sponsored by the School of Journalism and hosted by 1977 alumnus Steven Hirsch.

Panelists included Professors Carol Schwalbe and Alan Weisman of the School of Journalism and Jeffrey Trent, the president and research director of the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix. Steve Yozwiak, a ‘77 journalism grad and senior science writer for TGen, moderated the discussion. Fellow UA journalism graduate John D’Anna of the Arizona Republic helped plan the event.

Weisman’s last book, The World Without Us, an international bestseller translated into 34 languages, was named Best Nonfiction Book of 2007 by Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and the National Post (Canada), and was the iTunes #1 Nonfiction Audiobook. His next book, titled Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?, will be published in September 2013 by Little, Brown and Company. 

Carol Schwalbe enjoyed a long career with the National Geographic Society. Over the years she edited and rewrote many articles and book chapters on subjects ranging from geology and natural history to anthropology and archaeology. She is building relationships with science units around the UA campus to develop a program that will help communicate science to the public.