EGU23-6750, updated on 10 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Geobites: 3 Years of Science Communication Training in Practice

Kristina Vrouwenvelder1, Charles Shobe2, Margaret Moerchen1, and Matthew Giampoala1
Kristina Vrouwenvelder et al.
  • 1American Geophysical Union, Washington, United States of America
  • 2Department of Geology and Geography, West Virginia University, Morgantown, United States of America

Science communication skills are more essential than ever to today’s scientists, helping break down barriers such as the widespread use of technical jargon and limited access to journals in order to promote interdisciplinary collaboration with non-geoscientists and public understanding of geoscience research. However, traditional geoscience curricula place limited emphasis on the development of communication skills, particularly for audiences beyond scientific peers. Meanwhile, traditional science news focuses on topics of obvious interest to the public, such as geohazards or climate change. As a result, scientists are often given little scope to practice communicating with a general audience, and the majority of geoscience research lacks a mechanism for generating public interest.

“Bites” sites are blogs dedicated to communicating new developments in science to a broad audience. Each bite is an engaging, short (400-700 word) summary that explains an exciting new scientific paper and discusses its importance in the field. Bites are typically written by graduate students and other early career scientists about recently published articles that have not been picked up by more traditional science news outlets. These sites serve three key purposes: 1) to keep the interested public – especially university students who may consider careers in geoscience – up to date with recent developments in the field, 2) to generate attention for new work that traditional media outlets may miss, and 3) to give early career scientists practice with public-facing writing and editing, which are critical skills both within and beyond academia.

Here we discuss lessons learned in 3 years of running the site Geobites, targeted at communicating new geoscience (broadly-defined) research to the public. We discuss the community of peer science communicators formed by Geobites, diagram the structure of an effective article, present site analytics, and solicit feedback from the geoscience communication community.

How to cite: Vrouwenvelder, K., Shobe, C., Moerchen, M., and Giampoala, M.: Geobites: 3 Years of Science Communication Training in Practice, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-6750,, 2023.