Job Announcement: Climate Science Communications — Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Job Description

Are you passionate about science and keen to communicate the thrill of discovery to a variety of audiences? Interested in leading a communications team that shares those traits? Considering a move – perhaps a move away from journalism and toward a broader career in communications?

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is seeking a seasoned senior-level professional with extensive background in translating and communicating complex scientific concepts to lead the communications effort supporting the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility. Many of the same skills that members of SEJ employ every day are at the core of this position.

ARM is a DOE Office of Science user facility managed and operated by nine DOE national laboratories; PNNL leads the overall technical direction and operation of ARM, which is comprised of observation sites around the world, as well as a complex infrastructure – all available for use by scientists worldwide.

This individual develops and implements plans and strategies to successfully communicate and promote the ARM Facility. This individual (1) helps to develop and shape the awareness of the facility and its communications strategy by providing professional counsel to DOE and laboratory management; (2) serves as a public information officer; (3) leads communications team members in the development of all communications products.

Working closely with the ARM technical director, this team leader cultivates and maintains relationships with DOE program managers for the ARM Facility and Atmospheric System Research program; with colleagues at other national laboratories; and with stakeholders at other government agencies, universities, and national and international organizations as appropriate.

Familiarity with atmospheric sciences and global environmental change disciplines is highly desirable. This role requires exceptional organizational, management, writing, editing, and public outreach communication skills. This role also requires extensive internal/external relationship management experience, and the ability to lead and integrate communications efforts of multiple agency, laboratory, and company teams. The incumbent maintains a broad network of contacts, routinely faces tough issues that require creative problem-solving skills, and applies strategic thinking to issues having long-term or high-level impact to the ARM Facility and/or PNNL. The individual handles multiple demands successfully, quickly and effectively; meets requests for products in all media; is sensitive to the complexities of intergovernmental relations; and develops new ideas for communicating successes to clients, decision makers, the scientific community, and the public.

Minimum Requirements

The ARM communications team lead is a seasoned professional who holds a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in scientific or technical communications, English, public relations, journalism, communications or a related field. The successful candidate will possess at least 8 years of experience in scientific or technical communications, including knowledge of marketing communications, media relations, and staff relations.

Additional Qualifications

In addition to the minimum requirements, the successful candidate demonstrates a proven history of developing and implementing strategies to successfully produce business results or organizational change. Exemplary written, oral and interpersonal skills, as well as project management skills, are required.  Additional education or training in a scientific discipline, as well as previous experience with scientific and technical material in the global change discipline, are highly desirable. The successful candidate will also have the following skill sets:

  • Demonstrated ability to establish and lead teams and develop partnerships.
  • Exceptional collaboration skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with little direct oversight, develop and manage own workload, and oversee workload for the team.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills.
  • Breadth of knowledge of the communications area, its functions, principles, tools and processes, with demonstrated ability to successfully complete increasingly difficult and independent assignments.
  • Demonstrated ability to provide advice at the strategic level; demonstrated ability to exercise a high degree of discretion.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All staff at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States.

More information and to apply

If you’d like to discuss the position, please contact Tom Rickey, Tom works with many current and former journalists and can discuss the nuances of this position, especially as encountered by an experienced SEJ member.

More information about ARM is available at and

This position comes with full benefits: Health insurance, pension, a 401K, etc. Relocation assistance offered.

Please apply directly: Job ID # 303723
Directorate:  Organizational Development
Division:  Directorate Marketing & Technical Communications
Group:  Science & Research Communications

About PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is a Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory where interdisciplinary teams advance science and technology and deliver solutions to America’s most intractable problems in energy, the environment, and national security. PNNL employs 4,300 staff, has an annual budget of $936 million, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the Laboratory’s inception in 1965. Our science and technology inspires and enables the world to live prosperously, safely and securely.
Located in Richland, Washington, and part of the Tri-Cities community at the confluence of the Columbia, Snake and Yakima rivers, residents enjoy abundant water recreation, award-winning wineries, and more than 300 days of sunshine a year. Far enough away from Seattle and Portland to avoid their rain and daily traffic jams but close enough to visit and enjoy their arts and culture. We’re in the perfect position to choose between hiking and snow skiing in the Cascade Mountain range, world-class windsurfing in the Columbia Gorge, or camping in Hells Canyon. Perhaps these are among the reasons the Tri-Cities area is among the top 10 metropolitan growth areas for jobs in the United States, and why Money Magazine included it among its Top 100 Places to Live in America.

National Association of Science Writers Idea Grant proposals due November 4

Do you have a great idea for a science writing resource? Are you a member of a local science-writing group with big plans for an important project or workshop that has insufficient funding? In the last four years, the National Association of Science Writers has awarded over $350,000 as part of the Idea Grants program.

NASW invites proposals from individuals or groups to apply for grants ranging from $1,000 to $40,000 for projects and programs designed to help science writers in their professional lives and/or benefit the field of science writing. Proposals can serve non-members as well as members. We encourage creative thinking, thus the guidelines for these proposals are consciously broad.

Proposals should include:

  • Name of applicant(s)
  • Indication of whether applicant(s) is/are members or non-members of NASW
  • Title of the project
  • Amount requested
  • Description of proposed project, impacts on the science writing community, why you or your team are uniquely qualified to undertake this
  • How the proposed project will serve NASW members and non-member science writers
  • Proposed budget and delivery timeline (various options for funding levels are helpful)
  • If applicable: list of team members and their roles.

The project must be in keeping with the mission of NASW. The project, if applicable, should be accessible to all science writers and open to members and non-members. The project should not be for individual works, e.g. underwriting a single investigative piece or book, but it could, for instance, underwrite a study of the state of science writing in the U.S. or beyond.

We especially support the efforts of regional science writing groups to make their professional development activities available to all NASW members and beyond via webcasts, transcription, live blogging and other online or digital resources.

Proposals of no more than 1,500 words, along with a resume for each team member, should be sent as a SINGLE pdf to Please put the name of the applicant(s), title of the project and amount requested at the top of the proposal. The email subject line should be formatted as follows with the last name of corresponding author and date of submission, for example, “Lloyd Idea Grant, October 1, 2014″.

To learn more about the program and awards made to date and read selected proposals from past projects, visit

The NASW Grants Committee will review applications, which are due Tuesday, November 4, 2014. Applications for more than $5,000 will also be reviewed by the NASW Executive Board. Applicants in this round will be notified by January 31, 2015, and can expect disbursements to begin soon thereafter, pending grantees’ acceptance of the grant contract. Applicants should take this timeline into account when planning events. In general, Idea Grants may not be used to fund costs already incurred.

A portion (typically 75%) of the monies will be distributed at the time of the award, and the remainder remitted at the conclusion of the project with receipt of appropriate financial records and report(s). Awards are intended to fund only direct project costs.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers graduate fellowship in specialized journalism

To create a new generation of expert journalists, the Illinois journalism department has launched a program to support as many as six master’s degree candidates each year who have deep knowledge in the form of advanced degrees, including the Ph.D., MBA, M.D. J.D, and aspire to work as journalists covering their fields of specialization. The program includes a tuition and fee waiver, plus a personal stipend.

Candidates will emerge not only with a year of intensive experience in journalism but also with a capstone project designed to demonstrate their journalistic abilities for potential employers.


For information on how to apply contact: Nancy Benson, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Journalism,


Former Echo reporter scores another national award, gives success formula

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

A former Echo writer has won national recognition for a series of environmental stories about the Great Lakes.

Brian Bienkowski, now a reporter and editor at Environmental Health News, received second place in a beat reporting category in the contest sponsored by the national Society of Environmental Journalists.

The series is called Stories of the Great Lakes’ People, Places and Creatures.

Bienkowski, a 2012 graduate of the Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, also received the same award in the same contest last year.

While at MSU, he received the center’s Rachel Carson Award for outstanding environmental journalism graduate student. I figured it would be a good idea to probe for his formula for success:

Groups to EPA: Stop muzzling science advisers

Read the full story from the Associated Press.


Journalist and scientific organizations accused the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday of attempting to muzzle its independent scientific advisers by directing them to funnel all outside requests for information through agency officials.


In a letter Tuesday, groups representing journalists and scientists urged the EPA to allow advisory board members to talk directly to news reporters, Congress and other outside groups without first asking for permission from EPA officials. An April memo from the EPA’s chief of staff said that “unsolicited contacts” need to be “appropriately managed” and that committee members should refrain from directly responding to requests about committees’ efforts to advise the agency.


Distrust Your Data: Jacob Harris on Six Ways to Make Mistakes with Data

Read the full post on The Source.

Critique is always annoying when it’s expressed in indefinite terms. So, I’m going to do something I don’t normally like to do and pick a recent example of a data journalism story gone wrong. This is not to scold those who reported it—indeed, I’m well aware of how easy it is for me to make similar mistakes—but because a specific example provides an explicit illustration of how reporting on data can go wrong and what we can learn from it. And so, let’s begin by talking about porn. [LB note: You have been warned.]

Society of Environmental Journalists Fund for Environmental Journalism: Request for Proposals

Thanks to generous support of the Fund for Environmental Journalism (FEJ) by the Grantham Foundation and many individuals, the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) is able to offer professional journalists a fifth year of mini-grant opportunities for projects and entrepreneurial ventures related to reporting on the environment. The next deadline for proposals will be Midnight (EDT) on July 15th. Decisions are announced approximately 60 days after the deadline. Winning projects receive grants of $350 to $3,500.

Over the past four years, SEJ has provided over $90,000 in essential support, or acted as a fiscal agent to facilitate grant support, for 51 reporting projects in various media. Grants are made to both newsroom staff and freelance journalists to cover costs of travel, lab testing, graphics and website development, document access, and other budget items without which journalists would be unable to produce and distribute specific timely stories about important environmental issues. In addition to the grant, SEJ provides mentoring support to any grantees requesting it.

To learn more about the FEJ grant program, including applicant eligibility and submission guidelines, or to see information and links about past awards, please go to the Fund for Environmental Journalism page of SEJ’s website. Please note that at this point in time, only online applications in English are being accepted; and international applicants must give advance consideration to how they expect to receive funds, as SEJ cannot arrange wire transfers and no more than 10% of a grant may be spent on its delivery.

To the interested public, please consider making your own donation today, and help SEJ build the Fund for Environmental Journalism to support new work! If you would like to help experienced environmental journalists continue producing rich and rigorously investigated work, please make a gift on SEJ’s secure website. To arrange a sustaining (monthly), planned/legacy or memorial gift, please email the SEJ office.