Santa Cruz Tech Beat


SciComm graduates spanned the country to cover the solar eclipse

By Rob Irion
Director Emeritus, UCSC Science Communication Program

September 7, 2017 — Santa Cruz

(Photo above: SciCom lecturer Peter Aldhous and KQED science news editor Danielle Venton ’11 watched the eclipse with scientists at Lost River, Idaho. Photo courtesy of Danielle Venton)

From NASA TV to KQED radio to the pages of The New York Times, graduates of the Science Communication Program played a major role in conveying the scientific and societal impacts of the August 21 solar eclipse to eager readers.

Their reports spanned every medium, from print and broadcast to slideshows and social media, and every time zone in the country. SciCom graduates worked as editors of national coverage, on-location hosts, and authors of explanatory and public-service pieces. The alumni also hailed from each of the program’s four decades, from its founding in 1981 to several members of the latest graduating class.

Here is a representative sampling of eclipse stories by nearly two dozen alumni—many of whom reveled in seeing totality for the first time themselves:

NASA’s four-hour live online broadcast—which the agency estimates attracted 40 million views at different times—was co-anchored by Karen Fox ’93, NASA’s lead science writer for heliophysics:
“Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA” (August 21)

Extensive coverage in The New York Times featured the work of science writers Nicholas St. Fleur ’14 and Kenneth Chang ’95.

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