New Source and Progress Report

For this week’s blog post I opted to refer to another past study: Local Climate Experts: The Influence of Local TV Weather Information of Climate Change Perceptions. The study was conducted across Virginia under the guise of a university study compensating the subjects for their time. Participants were asked how often they viewed local weather reports (and were disqualified if they answered never), perceptions of extreme local weather, perceptions of climate change, their trust in tv weathercasters, and about their political ideologies. They found that the greater exposure to tv weather the more awareness of extreme weather and belief in climate change. Seventy-seven percent of participants noted that they trust their local weathercaster and this trust lead itself to awareness on climate change. The results showcased the role in newscaster trust has on the viewer and can be a measurable tool for science communication in addressing the public on environmental concerns.

I felt this study was a real clutch find because it directly relates to my project. The past research indicating trust in newscasters directly relates to awareness of climate change and action creates a solid foundation for me to base my questions for my interview subjects in the meteorology field as well as the other scientific disciplines. The study indicates that experts hold a valuable responsibility in the information they present to the public. This information and findings are helpful to me as I study the topics in general and form my interview questions specifically.

In terms of progress check in, Kathy Orr and I are trying to set up her interview and I’m still sending out emails for subjects. I’ve gotten a few “I’ll check my schedule,” responses, so at least they aren’t hard nos. Aside from that and trying to get my calendar in order I’m working on the paper and getting that finished before the deadline and finalize my project materials. I know any kind of script I have to turn in will be difficult because I feel like the quotes I get in my interviews will drive the narration and it will be one of the last things that I do. I just must operate under the “it’s easier to go back an edit a bad page than it is no page.”


Bloodhart, B., Maibach, E., Myers, T., & Zhao, X. (2015). Local climate experts: The influence of local TV weather information on climate change perceptions: E0141526. PLoS ONE, 10(11) doi:

New Source and Progress Report

For this week’s blog post I chose the article “Let it snow: just lay off the incredibly hyped ‘storm tracker’ coverage and give it to us straight,” by Deborah Potter. In this article Potter discusses the sensationalist tactics in weather reporting and how they shape public perception. She uses the example of the so-called storm of the century on the east coast in 2001 that produced little to no accumulation. While weather predicting radar is more accurate now, any preliminary signs of storms show up, and sometimes those storms don’t materialize. News stations use weather reporting as another competition for ratings as they send out their whole crew out to different parts of the area to report on how people are preparing, how roads are being prepared, and what weather for which they should be prepared. Jumping the gun in reporting breeds public mistrust due to information that ends up being inaccurate.

This article relates to my project because public perception of weather reporting and sensationalist journalism can affect their views on climate science and their behavior as it relates to it. Staging weather reports as just another quest for ratings takes away from the content of information being presented. Stations are preoccupied with being the first to report a possible storm instead of being patient and report the correct information as it becomes clearer via radar the first time. This article while providing a valuable discussion also provided me with a train of thought for questioning interview subjects in the meteorology field.

As far as my project goes, I’m sorting through my found footage and b roll to decide what I’m bringing to class on Wednesdays. I’m also reaching out for interview subjects in what I’m learning is a never-ending process. I’m trying to laser focus on the paper at this point as well for the draft due in the next three weeks, which comes with all the research and rereading my sources involved. I’ve started my literature review which historically for me is the most painful, and therefore most time-consuming part.


Potter, D. (2002). Let it snow: just lay off the incredibly hyped “storm tracker” coverage and give it to us straight. (Broadcast Views). American Journalism Review, 24(9), 68. Retrieved from

I finally have a title (and new source)

For this week’s blog post I chose to gloss over “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Showbusiness” by Neil Postman. Postman takes Debord’s theory of the spectacle and expands it to include the television and emerging internet landscapes of the mid-1990s. His work is still applicable today despite being published over twenty years ago. He surveys how the idea of celebrity is pushed through media channels and creates the most sellable messages despite validity or accuracy. Whereas DeBord lays the framework for the theory of the spectacle, Postman takes the theory and adds a harsh critique on how we absorb messages and the actions we partake in based on those messages.

Postman’s “wake up” tone lines up with the direction that my film has taken since Wednesday’s a-ha moment. I had already planned on using this source because of its insight but the tone had me concerned as to how I was going to make it fit. Amusing Ourselves also surveys more modern technologies that were not included in The Society of the Spectacle due to chronemics. It’s important to add in the internet, even if the internet  was in its infancy stages in 1995. That’s why I am also planning on pulling in “Media Spectacles” by Kellner published in 2005 and Marwick’s “The Fabulous Life of Micro-Celebrities” to reflect more modern technologies. These four sources make up my main theoretical framework in theory driving my project.

I finally have a title, so that’s exciting. Thanks to Dr. Shaw throwing out that “Two to Midnight” when I brought up the doomsday clock. I feel like the voice of the project went from hippie dippie granola “please listen to me and save the planet,” to a snarkier “wake the [heck] up,” and the latter is much more my personal voice. It’s liberating to finally get over that hump. I’ve gotten a couple  “let me check my schedule” emails from people I reached out to for interviews which is better than  no response. At this point I’m focusing on the interviews and the paper draft because of deadlines. But  now that I finally have a title, I feel so much better about everything. It was like magic.

Applicable Case Study and Progress Report

My article of focus this week is “Science news stories as boundary objects affecting engagement with science” by Polman and Hope. This case study reviewed instances where science was presented to students across grade levels as news stories creating a different engagement with the subject.

The main problem this case study aims to address is that students are seldom given the opportunity to explore science as it relates to areas of personal interest. It sheds light on a problem within the education system where students are talked at with data encouraging little engagement. Students were assigned reporting scientific issues as news stories combining disciplines providing creative freedom. By using news stories as boundary objects and intersecting worlds it enhanced student’s critical thinking when it comes to science. The case study examined three main areas as these assignments were present: action pertaining to a scientific event, interests and openness to a stance, and how it affects their identification. Information retention fifteen years after high school graduation is the goal, and five criteria on what makes a scientifically literate person were developed.

The criteria for what make a scientifically literate person are:

  • Understanding the relevance of STEM to their lives
  • Recognize credible STEM sources especially from the internet
  • Use multiple sources and add to the critique they provide
  • Consider social impact when learning new STEM information
  • Make sense of relay information in the STEM field to others

Across the five case studies the author’s found that asking students to report on science as news stories helped some students use their areas of interest that they previously couldn’t apply to science, as well as helped shape identity through their research and their work.

This case study relates to my project because the literacy aspect of the topic is twofold: while adults using social media are the main target being told to wise up, how we can use strategies to ensure the next generation is scientifically literate is of equal importance. I stumbled across this study by accident and I’m glad I did. In my undergrad at Temple I took Geology vs Hollywood as my science class. It was the least sciency science I had ever taken.  By my own admission I’m not good with practical science, I’d probably still fail basic chemistry, and I’m way too squeamish to ever dissect anything, so this looked like a good choice for my science gen ed. We didn’t have a final, but instead a final project. Professor Gagliano realized that we all were from different majors and there because we had to be, so we had a very vague project description: take something you learned here and present it in the frame of your major. I made a travel magazine about hurricanes and had a lot of fun doing it. You know what I can still talk about in a literate capacity part in thanks to the opportunity to present the information that way? Hurricanes. And I took that class at 26, so there is hope for adults too (well adult nontraditional students). Encouraging creative freedom to encourage information retention and critical thinking is a valuable strategy to ensure that the next generation coming out of school is scientifically literate, and I want to address that in my film as well.

As far as my project goes I’m still sending out emails looking for subjects, and after last class I’m trying to design a flyer that I can send out via email with some haste. I’m also piecing together some of my found footage to make a trailer to send to potential subjects as well. A friend from work is reaching out to her climatology and marine biology professors to see if they would like to be interviewed and I posted in the March for Science group on Facebook and found that the STEM professionals in there have been very helpful. Even if I only get one connection from the group I’ll still call that a win. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to shelve the production aspect for a couple days to get my annotated bibliography completed, but it will be back to business on Thursday. So other than trying to create new materials to send to potential subjects I’m still on a decent pace. Hopefully when we check back next week I will have at least one more committed subject, that’s my goal.

Applicable study and progress report

My article of focus this week is “Media-Savvy Scientific Literacy: Developing Critical Evaluation Skills by Investigating Scientific Claims.” This article is an overview of a study done among students fulfilling science gen ed requirements involving project-based applied learning to become familiar with being critical with sources.

In the study students were given the freedom to pick their own topic and create a compelling graphic supported by data to prove their point. The results of the project weren’t as important as the process of assembling the graphic and finding support. In this project students took time out of class to present their research findings to the class and take questions. These sessions served as an in-person peer review for the students, making them question the validity of their sources they used in support of their claims. At the end of the project along with their graphics, students felt that the process helped them think about what sources they believed and how to be more critical of what they read. They found that project-based applied learning not only gave them creative freedom than normally granted with gen ed science requirements, but felt they had the tools to be scientifically literate by the end of the class.

This article directly relates to my project because it addresses scientific literacy in the classroom and as it applies to every day life. It also provides a fresh approach to how gen ed science requirements can teach life skills when students normally show up to these classes to just pass and make it through the semester. Learning how to vet sources is a main point in the literacy aspect of my project, and this study addresses the need for that knowledge to spread. Holding the in-person peer review sessions also helped the students learn the importance of peer review and to keep a look out for it when looking for their own sources. This approach was successful in its mission to help students be more critical of their sources and considering that is one of my goals in my project this study has been helpful to me.

As far as my project goes I secured my first interview with Kathy Orr, so I’m hoping that now that I’m over that hump more will follow. I also am going to make a trailer with my found footage and record something into audacity to lay over it to send out to potential subjects. I have my master list of interview questions done, it’s just a matter of getting the people to ask the questions. Other than that, I’m still pretty on course with my topic and direction.


Peggy Brickman, Cara Gormally, Greg Francom, Sarah E. Jardeleza, Virginia G.W. Schutte, Carly Jordan, & Lisa Kanizay. (2012). Media-Savvy Scientific Literacy: Developing Critical Evaluation Skills by Investigating Scientific Claims. The American Biology Teacher, 74(6), 374-379. doi:10.1525/abt.2012.74.6.4

New Source and Progress Report

This week for my blog post I’ll be highlighting my source Place, proximity, and perceived harm: extreme weather events and views about climate change by Chad Zanocco, Hilary Boudet, Roberta Nilson, Hannah Satein, Hannah Whitley, June Flora from Climate Change, Volume 149 Issue 3-4 from August 2018. This article examines public perception of climate change through four case studies. Two of the case studies are in areas affected by tornadoes and two affected by wildfires. The study analyzed all four cases in terms of community and personal harm, and proximity. They found that when respondents said they felt personal harm due to the weather they became more concerned about global warming but did not think that global warming made the weather worse. When respondents felt that they experienced community harm they were not more concerned with global warming in general but felt that global warming made the weather more severe.

This reading fits into my project because it examines public attitudes based on their own personal experiences. How people understand the news they are given specifically pertaining to climate change is related to my project as I am critiquing the public’s literacy on the subject. This study is helpful in that it demonstrates motivational factors for people’s understanding of climate change and willingness for knowledge on the subject. The recent publication also helps my research stay timely. Having recent quantifiable data will help me understand what motivates people to care about climate change and will help in my story telling and stir interest up regardless of personal experience or proximity.

As I said last week I am ready to move on from mining found footage for now and schedule interviews. This past week I’ve made some phone calls and sent out some Twitter messages in hopes subjects will engage. If I must resort to more annoying measures I’m more than prepared for that, I can be quite persistent. I’m also thinking about what b roll I can shoot myself and what I will have to harvest. As I said Wednesday I’m worried about how many subjects I may get, but I just must keep the faith and hope that if someone slams a door in my face it leads me to getting someone who is better on camera and for my message. Once I start getting interviews in the can based on what my subjects give me in terms of verbal pearls I’ll have a better idea of what I want the script to say and how to say it.

The Theoretical Framework

My main theoretical framework for the critique in my documentary is the spectacle, so this is a good place to start and I’ll narrow in scope going forward. “The Society of the Spectacle” is a 1967 work by critical theorist Guy Debord where he presents his idea of the spectacle and how it applies to message consumption. As per the spectacle the receiver absorbs the message through the channel, in our case screens. The message is presented as more pleasurable than the real and is successful when the mediated image is a more pleasurable reality than actual reality. Messages are then commodified to be bought and sold perpetuating the image and reality reflected in the spectacle. In my case the screen is the channel, scientific misinformation is the mediated reality fed through the channel, and the idea that environmentally the planet is in good shape because it requires no action is when the mediated image becomes more attractive than reality.

While the documentary is going to highlight environmental concerns, the main overarching theme of the project is a critique on the literacy the public has on the topic. At its inception, I originally intended to take on multiple areas were public literacy dwelled at the shallow end of the pool. When planning out my strategy I realized that to do the main topic justice I couldn’t touch on all those areas, it would have been all over the place. Environmental science was the most applicable to both the Anthropocene and the spectacle.

The screen perpetuates this belief that we use social media to make ourselves the center of own universe, this human behavior can lend itself environmental issues such as deforestation. The gentle deer don’t need their forest home as much as we need the space to house our social media databases. Knock it down. I can continue to be lazy with my plastic consumption, it doesn’t matter if it ends up in the ocean. That turtle doesn’t need to breathe and there’s no way the river of trash at the bottom contributes to rising ocean temperatures. It sounds absurd but there is a significant demographic that refuse to believe scientific data put right in front of them. They cry fake news and show you a website that probably couldn’t explain what a peer review is let alone have one.

This message that environmentally we’re okay is irresponsible and dangerous, but because misinformation has its place traveling through the channel human behavior doesn’t change and we continue to destroy the planet. It is the lack of public literacy that I am addressing, and the spectacle lends itself well to public misconception as a direct result of the mediated reality.

At this point I would say that I am satisfied with the amount of found footage I have collated for my project. I probably will go mining further at the end of this hurricane season, but I have decided to curb that for a bit and reach out to start setting up interviews with members of the science communities and media theorists. I figure a good way to go would be to schedule three to four at a time that way I can be as available as possible for these people because their time is valuable. Once each interview is set up I will come up with my list of questions for each subject. I’ll have a master list but have specific questions ready as pertaining to that subject’s expertise. Given the scope of my project I feel that I would need somewhere between 9-12 interviewees to bring everything together. I’m also thinking about b roll, visual aesthetics, and what of that I can film myself.

That pretty much leads me up to today. I know the form and function of it will start to come together once I start getting interviews together and can pull film and use the found footage to piece it all together in a cohesive narrative. In the end I hope that it encourages people to think about their environmental impact, how they view the information they are given, and hopefully alter behavior after viewing.

Form, Function, and Aesthetics

I chose the documentary film style for my project because I feel it’s the best way to tell the story and a documentary would give the project greater reach.

I’m in the process of reaching out to people in the science community in different areas pertaining to the topic for interviews. Interviews will be layered with found footage and b roll as it applies to the sound byte I opt to use from the interview at that point in the film. My found footage will include videos of pollution in the ocean, weather reports, doppler radar footage, as well as news where scientifically inaccurate data is shared whether online, in print, or on the television for the literacy aspect.

Ideally, I’d like to operate on the circle theory in story telling in the film. It’s difficult to articulately describe the direction I think it’s going to take because that’s not how my creative process works. I often use the analogy of a fashion designer: some designers sketch and sketch and sketch and go into the fabric store knowing what they want and what they are making, and then there are those that just let the materials speak to them and tell the designer what they want to be made into. I am very much the latter. Based on the found footage I have already archived I have a general direction but depending on what nuggets my interview subjects give me the aesthetic can be altered to make the quotes work within the narrative.

I want to pay close attention to sound design and make sure that the sound track is just as effective as the visual strategy. I would like to have a musician compose an original score for the project, however that will come down to budgeting. I also want to pay attention to colors used in my b roll and try to make sure that they are consistent to give it some visual form and function.

It is important that the project is educational as well as a critique on how we use social media to spread false information when we could use this tool for good and I want the overall feel to reflect that in tone and aesthetics.

Preliminary Research Goals

In order to execute my still nameless documentary it will require a broad set of skills and scope of research. The technical skills I need to possess are those with cameras, audio equipment, lighting, editing proficiency, and interviewing skills.

My vision for the project is to use a mix of interviews conducted with meteorologists, climate scientists, oceanographic scientists, and communication scholars and found footage. The found footage would include but is not limited to weather reports in disaster situations, reports on climate change, snippets from social media displaying public perception, plastics in the oceans, and scientific data.

The scholarly research I will have to conduct will include media theories pertaining to the spectacle and the Anthropocene, how weather is reported, climate change, plastic in the ocean, sharing of information, social channels, and persuasion tactics.

This is my starting bibliography as my jumping off point.



Beaudillard, J. (1994). Simulacra and simulation University of Michigan Press.

Bierly, E. (1988). The world climate program: Collaboration and communication on a global scale. Annals of the American Academy of Politcal and Social Science, 495, 106.

Debord, G. (2000). The society of the spectacle Black and Red.

Lo, A. Y., & Jim, C. Y. (2015). Come rain or shine? public expectation of locacl weather change and differential effects on climate change attitude. Public Understanding of Science, 24(8), 928.

McLuhan, M. (2001). The medium is the massage Gingko Press Inc.

Moore, C. (2009). Seas of plastic. Retrieved 09/14, 2018, from

Nisbet, M. C., & Scheufele, D. A. (2009). What’s next for science communication? promising directions and lingering distractions. American Journal of Botany, 96(10), 1767.

Rothfusz, L. P., Karstens, C., & Hilderband, D. (2014). Next-generation severe weather forecasting and communication. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 95(36), 325.

Scheffers, B., & et al. (2016). The broad footprint of climate change from genes to biomes to people. Science, 354(6313), 7671.

MA Final Project Goals

I grew up in a magical time known as the mid 90s where children had multiple forms of media that encouraged us do our part to help the planet, and that being environmentally conscious was cool. I would pledge hours to Nickelodeon’s the Big Help and always made sure I was in front of the television for Captain Planet. As I’ve gotten older I realized how many people in my generation let Captain Planet down through wasteful behavior.

The notion that humans view themselves as the center of the universe perpetuates this behavior because it provides a temporary convenience. These temporary conveniences when added up adversely affect other species and climate.

Public understanding, or lack thereof, when it comes to climate science and environmental concerns plays its part in perpetuating these behaviors. The spread of misinformation through social channels not only encourages public ignorance, but at time can spread wrong and potentially dangerous information.

My final project in its finished form will be a documentary that uses found footage as well as interviews with climate scientists, meteorologists, environmental scientists, and communication and social media scholars.

I have four main parts for the film in my head:

  1. The Anthropocene: how we affect the planet
  2. What we’re actually doing to the planet: how our behavior affects the planet directly
  3. Public’s general understanding of the topic or lack thereof: how social media channels directly spread misinformation
  4. What can we do: how we can promote the spread of accurate information over social channels

I want to create a compelling work where the science and art worlds intersect that could speak to the science community as well as an audience with limited understanding on the subjects. The importance and timeliness is there, I just have to make sure I do an meticulous job with the execution.