Panel – Focus on Science: The Ocean Acidification Story

In a relatively short amount of time, the issue of ocean acidification in the Pacific Northwest has gone from a scientific anomaly to front page news and legislative action. Hear from a group of researchers, reporters, and communication specialists who played a role in this remarkable arc. We'll explore how storytellers can help scientists communicate their findings with public audiences and change-makers and highlight the differing incentives, techniques, and contributions of different players in this mix.


Craig Welch has worked as the environment reporter at The Seattle Times since 2000. A journalist for two decades, his work has appeared in Smithsonian magazine, the Washington Post, and Newsweek. He has tagged along with tribal fishermen who hunted seals in Alaska, hitched helicopter rides with scientists in the melting Arctic, prowled the Oregon woods for endangered owls, and tracked the development of Wyoming's oil fields. The national Society of Environmental Journalists twice named him Outstanding Beat Reporter of the Year, most recently in 2010. He was a 2007 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University and lives in Washington State. Shell Games is his first book.

Terrie Klinger is a marine ecologist who focuses on applying ecological theory to practical management solutions. She works on ecosystem-based approaches to manage natural resources in the ocean, understanding the ecological effects of environmental stressors, such as ocean acidification and habitat loss, and how rocky intertidal communities respond to and recover from disturbance. She is currently the lead investigator on a National Science Foundation IGERT award – shorthand for Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship – focusing on how oceans are changing worldwide, what that means to the human communities connected to them. The Pacific Northwest is her primary study area, including the Puget Sound, the San Juan Archipelago, and the outer coast of Washington, and she maintains a time-series of ecological data at a site in the Gulf of Alaska. She has been recognized for her unique combination of marine science and community outreach with the UW's Outstanding Service Award, and was named Naturalist of the Year by the Western Society of Naturalists.

Katie Campbell is an Emmy-award winning producer and photographer at KCTS 9, Seattle's public television station, where she covers the environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. She's a lead reporter for the regional public media project EarthFix, and a special correspondent for the PBS NewsHour. She holds a master's degree in narrative journalism from the University of Oregon. Prior to joining EarthFix and KCTS 9, Katie taught multimedia journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

Liz Banse is vice president, communications strategist and trainer at Resource Media, a nonprofit PR firm that helps nonprofits, government, communities and foundations unlock the power of communications to advance their goals. Her practice areas span all aspects of communications planning, traditional and online media strategy and outreach, visual communications, opinion research, message development, branding, materials development and production, presentation skills and other communications trainings, organizational marketing and crisis communications. She is the author of Seeing is Believing: A Guide to Visual Storytelling Best Practices.


Liz Neeley is the Assistant Director of Science Outreach for COMPASS. She develops and leads the new media and multimedia components of communications workshops for the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and universities across the country. Before joining COMPASS, Liz studied the evolution and visual ecology of tropical reef fishes. She got hooked on science communication after a journalist helped her articulate why she really cared about fish vision for the very first time, after only three years of her work toward her PhD. As a lifelong traveler, Liz was always fascinated by culture shock and what gets lost in translation. After grad school, she went on to help communities and scientists in Fiji and Papua New Guinea connect their knowledge of local coral reefs ecosystems to the media. She gained a lasting appreciation of the challenges in making international science policy while working on trade in the deep-sea corals used in luxury fashion and design.

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