Sometimes You Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows: The 25-Year Weather Underground Experience

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 3:04 PM
Jeff Masters, The Weather Underground, Highland, MI, United States
Originally an educational project at the University of Michigan in the early 1990s, the Weather Underground transformed into the highly successful commercial Internet weather web site,, in 1995. I give an overview of the science communication experiences learned during my 25-year experience with the Weather Underground. Some lessons learned: Find your own unique voice. Be entertaining; don’t be such a scientist. Tell stories. Earn people’s trust. Use colorful graphs, images that show people, historical events, or scenes of local interest to illustrate your message. Be careful with criticism. Allow your audience to participate. Enrich people’s experience by turning them on to other groups that offer unique and interesting information. Collaborate with other communicators with the goal of providing the public with simple, clear messages, repeated by a variety of trusted sources.