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Getting Out the Message: Child Development Research-Media Collaborations

Fri, March 20, 1:30 to 3:00pm, Marriott, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon E

Session Type: Invited Conversation Roundtable

Integrative Statement

Moderator: Ashley Merryman, Author /Journalist/Attorney
Abstract. As moderator, I will lead the conversation of the roundtable with Kerry Rubin and Melanie Killen. We'll begin with a discussion of the CNN/Killen Lab project on "Kids and Race: The Hidden Picture," which was aired in April, 2012. We will talk about how the project came about, and how CNN and the Killen Lab worked together during the research and documentary filming. Using this project as a jumping-off point, we'll turn our attention to how research is conducted by university labs and news organizations. We'll address their respective commonalties and differences in procedures, legal and ethical reviews, and sheer practical demands. We'll then talk about where scientific research and the media go from here – how we can make sure that the media finds the best science to report, while scientists understand how their work fits in with public discourse.

Panelist 1 - Kerry Rubin, Senior Producer, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360
Abstract. My role as panel member of the Conversation Roundtable is to provide the media viewpoint, and what has motivated CNN to conduct media/research collaborations. Starting with “Kids on Race: The Hidden Picture,” I will discuss how we undertake these projects, and what we view as the larger mission to accomplish. Working with university researchers involves forging into new territory, and we will discuss how we go about this and what it entails in terms of communication and shared goals. Our goal is to create a story that is accessible for a wide audience, and one that is compelling and engaging. We will discuss the challenges and what CNN envisions for the future.

Panelist 2 - Melanie Killen, Professor of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, University of Maryland
Abstract. The goal of this conversation roundtable is to discuss collaborations between developmental science researchers and television media when executing empirical studies designed to provide new knowledge and create a story for broadcast news. I will talk about how my team made our pitch to the CNN AC360 staff in New York City, selected schools in New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia to collect the data, which was filmed, conducted data analyses, and worked on the scripts. Scientific integrity is a fundamental principle for researchers. As well, journalistic freedom is central for media. Embarking on these types of collaborations can pose challenges for preserving both principles. Journalists have a vision for what works for a story; social scientists have a concern for how data and findings should be portrayed and interpreted. Making it work takes open communication and a sense of a shared goal; the broader impacts are educational and newsworthy.

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