Group Photo in front of Mammoth bonesAs part of an effort to share Florida’s biggest water stories with broader audiences, University of Florida Water Institute, the UF Thompson Earth Systems InstituteFlorida Sea Grant and the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have organized the first-ever Water Resources Journalism Intensive (WRJI), a crash course on how to cover a scientific conference for journalism students pursuing careers in science writing and communication.

The WRJI centers around the UF Water Institute Symposium, with each student covering a specified symposium topic, attending related sessions, and working with experienced science communicators to get their stories in shape for publication. The program is free for participants, and graduates receive a certificate upon completion.

In preparation for the symposium, students participated in a pre-conference workshop hosted at the Florida Museum of Natural History to learn about how to structure a science news story, mine scientific conferences for story ideas, work with editors, find evidence-based information and interview scientists.

“Scientific conferences like the Water Institute Symposium are ripe with stories that need to be told,” said Rebecca Burton, communications manager with the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute and one of the organizers of the WRJI. “I want journalism students to walk away from this program feeling confident about covering conferences in their future careers.”

The 2020 WRJI cohort includes five University of Florida graduate and undergraduate students from the College of Journalism and Communications. They are:

  • -Felipe de la Guerra
  • -Brittney Miller
  • -Lianne D’Arcy
  • -Sarah Breske
  • -Patrick Farrar


Articles written by the students will appear on here on the Florida Sea Grant website, the UF Water Institute website, and partner websites.

To learn more about the WRJI and future workshops, email Rebecca Burton, Communications Manager with UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute, at