#23 Journalism from STS Science Communication Master’s Students 2022 | WeAreSTS

WeAreSTS - A Podcast from UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS), hosted by Professor Joe Cain.

We sampled undergraduate projects in a previous episode. Now, it time for the Master’s students. Today’s episode offers a sampler of student-made podcasts. These were created by Master’s students in our science journalism module, run by Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon.

The assignment was straightforward: imagine you’re working for a news magazine. Create a three-minute feature about a recent piece of research at UCL. The piece must include a short interview segment, and it must make sense within the context of the show. They have a tight deadline, and they have to work pretty much with the tools they have through a laptop and phone. The goal is to mimic real-world work as a freelance journalist.

The assignments students do in STS modules today are nothing like what they used to be. These days, they build portfolios with all sorts of things: short writing, long writing, posters, blogs, in-class presentations. Add to these, projects like podcasts, film clips, campaign strategies, briefing papers, debates, and proposals. Research of different kinds. Creativity. And Challenge. We diversify our curriculum because we’re training for a flexible future: a world of work that is as varied as we can imagine.

For today, I’ve brought together eight of the student projects that appeal to me. They’re varied, and they deliver the assignment is different ways. Think of this as a sampler. Details about each track are in the show notes.


Music credits

Intro and Exit music

Interval music

Podcast information

WeAreSTS is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, or to leave feedback about the show:


This site also includes information for how STS students and staff can get involved with our programme.

WeAreSTS producer is Professor Joe Cain.

Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS


Track 1. Tackling Far-Right Extremism Online, Thorin Bristow

For this newscast, I interviewed CianO’Donovan on his recent research published in the Journal of Peer Production titled “Collective Capabilities For Resisting Far-Right Extremism Online And In The Real World”. We discuss the problem of far-right extremism in the digital sphere, and Cian’s associated work with the Far Right Observatory in Ireland. The intersections of digital technologies, tech firms, and society are explored, following Cian’s harms-first approach to research.


Dr Cian O’Donovan, Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London


Cian’s paper: http://peerproduction.net/issues/issue-15-transition/peer-reviewed-papers/collective-capabilities-for-resisting-far-right-extremism-online-and-in-the-real-world/


Royalty free music used from https://www.bensound.com

Track 2. Planetary bodies observed for the first time in habitable zone of a dead star, Bharadwaj Vangipuram

The podcast gives the audience a brief introduction of what white dwarf stars is and how relevant their study is to our solar system and the universe. With the stage set with what white dwarfs are and the research mentioned, the podcast dives into the procedure of the discovery which included: Identifying recurring patterns, Habitable zone, Inference from debris to planets. The podcast also gives the audience an insight into what are the difficulties faced by the team during the discovery which included constrained resources (Telescope time) and the luck involved in it.


Andrew Swan, Post-Doctoral Researcher, UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy. Research Group: Exoplanets (Working under Prof. Jay Farihi)

Corresponding Research article

Relentless and Complex Transits from a Planetarian Debris Disk


Background Sound for Introduction: Denzel Sprak

Album Name: Blue Dot Sessions

Curators: Community Commons Music

Track 3. Is it healthy for children to follow plant based diets?, Sophie Reich-Michalik

This podcast is framed as a weekly occurring feature about sustainable living, targeted primarily at families. This week’s episode is about the health effects of plant based diets for children. Professor Jonathan Wells is interviewed about his recent study “Growth, body composition, and cardiovascular and nutritional risk of 5- to 10-y-old children consuming vegetarian, vegan, or omnivore diets.” In the episode, he explains how his study was conducted, his findings and his suggestions for parents with children interested in following a plant based diet.


Jonathan Wells, Professor of Anthropology and Pediatric Nutrition. UCL Department of Population, Policy & Practice.

UCL Press Release:



“Creative Minds” from Bensound.com.

Track 4. New research in UCL on sex differences reveals the urgency of mental health gendered medicine, Eve Barro

The newscast highlights the implications of a new paper Freya Pentice published a few months ago about sex differences in cardiac interception, the ability to feel internal cardiac signals. We explore together what impact such research can have on personalised mental health intervention and the importance of conducting and communicating properly about gendered medicine related topics given the particularly sensitive topics sex and gender currently are in our society.


Freya Pentice, PhD candidate in UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of child Health


The sounds (music and sound) used for the newscast come from the BBC sound effect database which is free of charge for non-commercial use.


Track 5. Covid-19: Misery for Care Home Residents and Staff Continued, Qitian Mao

Although our communities have paid much attention to the pandemic, there is much less importance placed on those most vulnerable populations living and working in care homes. Led by UCL Professor Laura Shallcross at the Institute of Health Informatics, a national study, VIVALDI, is launched to investigate COVID-19 infections in care homes. Professor Laura Shallcross is invited and interviewed online; and she indicates a much higher Covid infection risk for people in care homes and a continued efforts to protect them. The background music used in this podcast is the Newsroom Intro.

Details to come.

Track 6. Impact of climate change on global food production and the role this plays in widening the inequality gap, Hania Tayara

‘The Climate Society’ podcast explores the role of climate change in exacerbating existing social inequalities. I speak to UCL’s Professor Paul Ekins about his research on the impact of climate change on global food production, and the role this plays in widening the inequality gap. We discuss how localised food shortages due to weather events have disproportionately impacted poor countries and poorer people in rich countries, and whose responsibility it is to mitigate this as the climate crisis worsens.


Professor Paul Ekins, Bartlett School (Environment, Energy & Resources)


The background music in the newscast is taken from the track named “everything feels new” by EvgenyBardyuzha ,and this was obtained from Pixabay.

Track 7. UCL’s COVID-19 Social Study is the largest scientific research on the psychological and social impact of the pandemic in the UK, Paula Munoz Arriaza

This episode highlights the UCL COVID-19 Social Study, the largest scientific research on the psychological and social impact of the pandemic in the UK. Therefore, it analyses why mental health has become a concern for research, the most vulnerable social groups during the pandemic, how much mental health rates have changed in the UK, and what actions could address this issue.


Dr Elise Paul is a Senior Research Fellow in Epidemiology/Statistics at the Faculty of Population Health Sciences at UCL. Since 2020, she has been part of the UCL COVID-19 Social Study research team. She has published several reports and papers about the importance of implementing population monitoring to determine how the pandemic has impacted mental health rates in the UK.

Music credits

Oak Studio (2020). Freedom – Acoustic Upbeat Music. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M2Gk68sfYw&ab_channel=OakStudios

Oak Studio (2022). Echoes – Ambient Guitar #9 (Reflexive & Thoughtful Electric Guitar). YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kshG1AE9oig&ab_channel=OakStudios

Batang Dahilig Atbp (2021). Acoustic guitar sound effect free download. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRXz7xP_3Jo

Slaking_97 (2019). Free Music Background Loop 002. Free Sound. Available at: https://freesound.org/people/Slaking_97/sounds/459706/

Track 8. The neuro-developmental condition known as stammering, along with the mental health of children and young adults who have a stammer, Flo Cornish

I explore the relationship between stammering and symptoms of anxiety. The positive correlation between the two may not be an inherent result of the stammering condition, but rather a result of how society perceives those who stammer. This in turn affects the lives of stammering people, both in terms of human relationships and the treatment they receive. I spoke with clinical speech therapist and UCL PhD candidate Ria Bernard to gain some valuable insights.


Ria Bernard (Lead Author, PhD Candidate at UCL, Clinical Speech and Language Therapist).

UCL Press Release

‘Stammering may be linked with anxiety in some children and adolescents’ https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2022/jan/stammering-may-be-linked-anxiety-some-children-and-adolescents


Royalty free music from TunePocket

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