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The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
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NOVA Scientist At UMass Boston

On Wednesday Nov. 7, the School for the Environment invited guest speaker Ari Daniel, a scientist and story teller who works for NOVA, to speak to a graduate school seminar class in Healey Library. Daniel spoke about how he takes current topics in science and turns them into videos for regular people who are not scientists to watch and spread awareness about different scientific topics going on in the world.
NOVA is a broadcasting network that creates videos on science-related topics. Daniel opened his talk by asking the class about the value to communicating science, to which every hand in the room was raised in agreement. Daniel then turned to a video he worked on for Massachusetts General Hospital, about a boy who had early-onset bipolar disorder. The video demonstrated how piecing together audio and visual clips can create a story that sends a message to an audience. Stills of the young boy and the interviews of the parents in the background grounded the story and pulled the audience into the video. Daniel went on to explain how the process of a video as simple as the one done for MGH took months of work and a lot of time putting audio recordings together to create the message that he wanted to create.
Daniel went on to talk about his job at NOVA, how he is charged with the science aspect of what goes in the news. His job is to look at what is going on in science news and relate it to everyday people. Daniel spoke about how Facebook is a major platform that NOVA uses, and talked about how he makes his videos intriguing to people scrolling through their Facebook feeds. He went on to explain how the process of brainstorming a topic is the most important part of creating an intriguing video, and the script is the most crucial part of any video. Daniel spoke more about how to write about science for a non-scientific audience, and the importance of conveying a message clearly. One of the ways he says that he sees the message of scientific topics being conveyed is through podcasts and shows similar to spoken word. He highlights a show called Story Collider at the Oberon in Boston in February, that showcases scientists telling stories about some of the projects that were hardest for them and what inspired the scientists to do what they do.
Although Ari Daniel only spoke to a small group of graduate students in the School for the Environment, the points that he made in his talk about crafting a message through writing or video could be used by any student in any major who wants to communicate their work to other people.