Veteran journalist Rick Weiss has staged boot camps for science journalists as part of his work as director of the nonpartisan, nonprofit SciLine, which offers a free service to journalists to help them find knowledgeable sources on topics they cover.

About a year ago, Weiss and his Washington, D.C.-based team stopped by Des Moines, where Weiss talked to Drake University journalism Dean Kathleen Richardson about staging a science boot camp for political reporters. Richardson, a former news editor at the Des Moines Register, had already staged a boot camp for political reporters on political topics in 2015 in the runup to the 2016 presidential election. 

“We thought it would be cool to offer a boot camp about science and hold candidates accountable and see if their positions comport with the science,” said Weiss, whose three-decade career included a 15-year stint as science reporter at the Washington Post. 

The sessions will cover energy, climate, immigration, trade, agriculture, water, the environment and political polling, with several field trips in the area. Speakers are coming in from around the country. 

The program is free to the 29 journalists, who came in from media outlets of varying sizes in Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Arizona, Kansas and Virginia, including representatives of ABC News, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. Also in the group are reporters from public radio stations in Iowa, North Carolina, Connecticut, Virginia, Washington, New Hampshire and Texas.   

A free public panel of state climatologists about climate-related risks will be livestreamed Tuesday night at 6:30 Iowa time. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien of "PBS NewsHour" will moderate. 

SciLine is based at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.