It’s the almost inevitable question when you’re meeting new people at a neighborhood cookout, or school or church function, or anywhere you happen to be meeting strangers you’ve never met before.
After the routine “This is…,” the question follows, “So what do you do?”
“I’m a producer/reporter at UNC-TV,” I reply, and then proceed to explain North Carolina Science Now. That explanation drew this response a few weeks ago.
“Well I hope your stories can make a connection for me about why I should care about some of these studies or how they will affect me,” said a Dad at my son’s school. “Science stuff is always way up there,” he told me, motioning with his hand above his head. “Bring it down here and you’ll be doing well," his hand now waving chest high.
Following that neighborly, but also very sound advice, I hope to be a connector in the stories I report for North Carolina Science Now, whether on air, on the web, or in this blog. I’ll get the facts of the story, after all, that’s what a reporter does. But I also want to connect the average person to the science topic and the scientist because I know it’s possible to be clear and accurate at the same time. Too often, scientists talking science and listeners asking questions seem to be speaking alien languages to each other. I hope to accurately substitute the science jargon with language the average viewer/reader can understand.
The beauty of the North Carolina Science Now project is that from our website, we will provide links and educational materials so that those who want more science, or teachers wanting to use the story in their classroom, can easily find what they need.
We live in a state with an incredible amount of scientific activity. There are fantastic universities, high tech and bio-science companies located here. But science isn’t limited to what happens in those institutions. I’m looking for stories everywhere and in everyday life because I believe helping people understand science can benefit all of us in ways large and small. Doctors and patients can better explain medical treatments. Investors and entrepreneurs can get a better idea of what a product can do or what researchers hope to discover. Finally, lawmakers can get an understanding of what funding for scientific research can produce.
I also believe educating people on the importance of science is key to America's competitiveness in the 21st century economy.
As a reporter, a connector, and a life-long fan of all things science, I’m excited about this adventure discovering what’s happening in North Carolina Science Now. I hope you will join me.
- Frank Graff
Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on North Carolina Science Now, a weekly science series that airs Wednesdays, beginning in August 2013, as part of North Carolina Now on UNC-TV. In addition to producing these special segments, Frank will provide additional information related to his stories through this North Carolina Science Now Reporter's Blog!