The LTER Network Communications Office (NCO) facilitates both internal and external communications for the LTER Network. With over 2000 scientists working on questions that range from coral resilience to the role of fire in carbon storage, no single office could provide an exhaustive catalog of LTER science. Rather, the NCO aims to raise the profile of the Network as a whole and illuminate the role that LTER sites play in integrating short-term studies with long-term observations, serving as magnets for collaboration and education, and providing context and expertise for stakeholders and the scientific community.
Communication-related activities of the NCO:
- Web site. The NCO hosts and maintains the LTER web site, the LTER Intranet, and the LTER photo gallery. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to update information or to discuss ideas for new stories or features.
- LTER Science update, issued monthly, provides brief, accessible summaries of recent science from across the Network. It is designed to inform partners, educators, and the broader ecological community as well as LTER Network scientists. Please share and encourage your colleagues to subscribe.
- News from the NCO, issued quarterly, or as needed, provides regular organizational updates to all LTER-associated personnel (everyone with an LTER username). If you don’t have an LTER username, contact your LTER site information manager to get one.
- Media relations. While the number of science reporters may be declining, the importance of science in the public sphere is only increasing. The NCO and NSF’s Office of Public and Legislative Affairs collaborate to ensure that members of the news media have access to the most current information on LTER science.
- NSF Science Communications Officer Cheryl Dybas works directly with LTER investigators and their university news offices to develop and distribute news releases on major publications. Please contact Cheryl, or ask your press office to do so, as soon as you know a paper has been accepted for publication. Adequate lead time is critical for distributing press releases while the media is still interested.
- The Network Communications Office gathers and shares information that is less time-sensitive, including post-release publications, education and outreach activities, LTER presence at scientific meetings, and synthesis working group activities. The NCO also collaborates with NSF’s Public Affairs Office to organize the annual LTER-NSF symposium.
- Science spotlights. By writing stories, creating maps, videos and data visualizations, the NCO helps make the scientific discoveries of the LTER Network accessible to resource managers, decision makers, educators, and reporters seeking background. Whether working with researchers and outreach managers at individual sites to spotlight a recent finding or explaining the importance of a new synthesis emerging from a working group, we aim for clear, accurate, engaging and visually compelling communication.
- Social media. The NCO has an active social media presence at @USLTER on Twitter, at USLTER on Facebook, and at US LTER on YouTube. Like or follow us for the latest news on what’s happening at other sites, as well as resources in science communications, synthetic ecology, and open data.
- Mailing lists. The NCO maintains email discussion lists and records of LTER Network committees.
- Communications training and resources. Need to identify a good freelance producer or writer? Looking for some professional development or just putting together a brownbag on blogging, video, or social media? We are developing a set of communications resources and offering occasional training opportunities online, at meetings, and at the All-Scientists’ Meeting. If you don’t yet see what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to connect the LTER NCO Deputy Director, Marty Downs (email@example.com).