What is Your Story? Storytelling in the OOS Community

Things are moving along for COSEE NOW. We had a very successful workshop at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore MD where we discussed storytelling as a communication tool. Andy Goodman, who is a communication consultant who works with a variety of non profits through the U.S., gave a compelling hands-on program about storytelling best practices. We discussed how stories shape how we view public policy; affect when and how much we give to charity; strengthen and engage the audience intended; and advance an overall mission of our organization. These stories are made from a time tested structure that includes detail, emotion, truth and overall meaning.

The focal point of the workshop was the notion that data, such as the data we are all working with within our observatories, must have a compelling story to engage the audiences we want to engage. Andy provided a convincing case for storytelling with scientific merits.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words?

In the second half of the workshop, we focused on data visualization best practices. We heard from a panel of experts that shared their best practices about creating visualizations for specific audiences. We learned that visualizations should be based on an idea or concept that is clear, simple, and unambiguous. The product must be focused on an audience and be created in a way that has the visual tell a story enhanced with words.

On the second day of the workshop, the IOOS and OOI educators and scientists talked about their projects and activities. We learned a great deal about each other and generated a big list of things we would like to work on together in the future. We wrapped things up with Katie Stoffer from the Maryland Science Center and Carrie McDougal from NOAA presenting the Science on the Sphere, which included a number of datasets/visualizations. It was a great way to wrap up the workshops.

Workshop Accomplishments

All participants were able to work with Andy to create a story related to their job and their Ocean Observing System. Please check out the COSEE NOW frequently to read their stories and share one of your own.

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