Bridging Communities

Bridging Communities

Engaging policymakers, journalists, and community leaders

Working with Outside Experts

Why we bring in outside experts


How we work with journalists

Journalists partner with us to make new connections, hear untold stories, and inspire scientists to think about their work in new ways. We strategically connect journalists to scientists in a variety of ways—as outside experts in our workshops, locally or regionally through events like our Montana wildfire field trip, and at key scientific convenings, like our biennial journalist travel award to attend the North American Congress for Conservation Biology (NACCB). Journalists who partner and engage with COMPASS reflect unique identities, voices, outlets, and perspectives, and are committed to working with diverse scientists to uncover new stories and solutions.


How we work with policymakers

Tools & Resources

Tools and tips for engaging with policymakers & journalists

I’ve been engaging with external audiences about my research on controversial forest management issues for nearly 40 years, but this was the best opportunity I’ve had to participate in a critical evaluation of the whole communication process with a group of research peers and media experts… Simply hearing what a ‘day in the life of a journalist’ is like will change the way I react to the next email or phone request for an interview.

~ Dr. Tom Veblen, Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder

Four well-known, leading reporters accompanied COMPASS and helped with the workshop. These leading journalists discussed how the media is changing and the importance of communicating science to the public and to policymakers. They shared their personal perspectives on what makes a good science story and how to get our stories told.

~ Dr. John Reganold, Regents Professor, Washington State University

Having someone with a critical eye who knows the science but also how things work on Capitol Hill, someone who can say ‘that’s too much jargon' or explain the proposed legislation or the constraints—that’s an invaluable service that COMPASS provides.

~ Dr. Scott Doney, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Don’t underestimate the power of sharing your science with people who can use it, the value of the COMPASS practitioners to help you communicate, and the network of opportunities COMPASS can provide. It’s worth your time.

~ Dr. Brian Chaffin, Assistant Professor of Water Policy, University of Montana

Much of my ability to connect with journalists comes from my willingness to engage them on their terms. COMPASS helped me learn how to identify what journalists need, and to talk about my work in that context.

~ Dr. Gretchen Hofmann, Professor, University of Santa Barbara

I feel so much more empowered now. I actually have tools at my disposal, and this awesome network of people who are interested and impassioned. That’s been the greatest gift.

~ Dr. Se Jin Song, Director of Research, Center for Microbiome Innovation, University of California

The network I have developed from attending two NACCB conferences as a fellow has been immeasurably helpful, and provided important context to my reporting on issues over the past four years.

~ Niki Wilson, Science Writer

You know your COMPASS training worked when a congressional staffer repeats your message back to you more than a year later!

~ Dr. Jennifer Balch, Director, Earth Lab; Associate Professor of Geography, University of Colorado Boulder