A recent United Soybean Board-sponsored event prepares journalism students to cover biotechnology issues. Biotech University, last week at Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona, exposed 50 students to scientists, a farmer, an investigative reporter and an opponent of the technology. Jake Stein, a senior journalism major at ASU, knew little about biotechnology before attending the day-long seminar. He acknowledges the controversy surrounding biotechnology and the need for people to be exposed to accurate reporting of it.
“There needs to be more communication between agriculture and the public and these (biotechnology) companies and the public, because there’s a lot of misunderstanding out there and I think that there needs to be more communication,” Stein told Brownfield Ag News, prior to the open of the conference in Phoenix. Stein, an alumnus of Biotech University in 2012, addressed this year’s attendees.
Brittany Morris attended Biotech University last year. She went from “knowing absolutely nothing about biotechnology,” to producing a piece on genetically engineered drought resistant crops in Africa.
“It’s really important we have reporters trying to understand what’s the truth and what’s been used as far as hysteria goes,” said Morris, who also addressed attendees, “so I was able to sieve out all that hysteria and find out what the meat of the matter was and how it really is helping to transform our world.”
The event culminates with a reporting contest, the winner of which attends a biotechnology seminar in Australia.
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