How reporting on science can change the way you learn

Good science journalism shows you how the world works. And doing the actual reporting can show you how your brain works as it seeks to find the story in a flood of information, conversations and observation.

PBS NewsHour Weekend Anchor Hari Sreenivasan recently sat down in Google Hangout with three Student Reporting Lab All-Stars to discuss what happened when they produced science-related stories for their communities.

Sophie, a former student of Philip’s Academy Charter School in Newark, said she learned to become more critical of information she hears online or on the news, often doing her own research to find the source. With help from NJTV and WNET, Sophie and her classmates reported on government regulations that threatened their school’s unique family-style lunch program.

“People started thinking ‘Wow, this is something that we like and it could change. What can we do to prevent that?’” Sophie said.

2,000 miles to the west, Meri, now a freshman at the University of Montana, had her own unique experience with science reporting. The summer after graduating high school, the Missoula native produced a report on the dangers of “bucket biology” with the help of mentors from MontanaPBS.

“All the sudden I cared way more, just because I had a much better sense of awareness of how that could affect my community, and I think that was hugely important to my education,” Meri said.

Heading south to Pflugerville, Texas, Kennedy and her mentors from KLRU reported on Aquaponics and the science of growing vegetables using nutrients from fish tanks. Kennedy, now a freshman at the University of North Texas, said stories told by millennials are different because there is a fresh perspective and a sense of trust with other millennials.

“We may be able to draw something out of the person we’re interviewing a little bit easier than someone else,” Kennedy said.