Expanding awareness through engaging the commercial media environment, lessons from the launching of EARTH Magazine

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Building public awareness of the geosciences remains a challenge largely undertaken with charitable support from organizations that are promoting the science.  These initiatives are effective in engaging the public with a predilection towards geoscience, or at least an appreciation of the natural world.  However, this group remains a minor proportion of the general public.  Only a few efforts have been made to pursue geoscience outreach in the commercial realm and to engage the community beyond those predisposed towards the science.  One such effort, the American Geosciences Institute's EARTH Magazine, now has four years of experience of operating in the commercial public media space and has learned many lessons regarding expectation, barriers, and opportunities.  Though a role remains for geoscience-focused media like EARTH, the geoscience community needs to consider engaging the commercial public media industry to affect change.  Chief approaches include engaging in the existing information dissemination organs, ensuring that the message being projected begins and ends with people as the central focus, and to shift our voluntary public communications towards positive solutions, while retaining the more difficult negative communications for those moments when the geosciences are asked to respond to events.

  • Christopher Keane*
  • P. Patrick Leahy*
  • 34th International Geological Congress