Download Am I Making Myself Clear?: A Scientist's Guide to Talking to by Cornelia Dean PDF

By Cornelia Dean

What we don’t be aware of can damage us—and does so on a daily basis. weather swap, healthiness care coverage, guns of mass destruction, an getting older infrastructure, stem mobilephone examine, endangered species, house exploration—all impact our lives as voters and humans in useful and profound methods. yet except we comprehend the technological know-how at the back of those concerns, we can't make average decisions—and worse, we're at risk of propaganda cloaked in medical rhetoric.

To exhibit the proof, this booklet indicates, scientists needs to take a extra lively position in making their paintings obtainable to the media, and therefore to the general public. In Am I Making Myself Clear? Cornelia Dean, a distinct technology editor and reporter, urges scientists to beat their institutional reticence and enable their voices be heard past the discussion board of scholarly book. through providing beneficial tricks for making improvements to their interactions with policymakers, the general public, and her fellow reporters, Dean goals to alter the angle of scientists who scorn the mass media as an area the place vital paintings is just too frequently misrepresented or hyped. much more very important, she seeks to persuade them of the price and urgency of speaking to the general public.

Am I Making Myself Clear? indicates scientists tips to communicate to the general public, deal with the media, and describe their paintings to a lay viewers on paper, on-line, and over the airwaves. it's a booklet that may increase the tone and content material of discussion over serious concerns and may serve the pursuits of technological know-how and society.

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Extra info for Am I Making Myself Clear?: A Scientist's Guide to Talking to the Public

Sample text

But I am criticized for it. ” The point is, debate and disagreement are hallmarks of science, especially in arenas where science and policy intersect. Journalists will be hard-pressed to tell the good idea from the specious. And when we journalists are unable (or unwilling) to judge for ourselves, we often fall back on he-said-she-said reporting. In effect, we turn the whole question over to our readers (or listeners or viewers), who probably have even less basis for judgment than we do. ” Sometimes the consensus is wrong, sometimes spectacularly wrong.

Know your audience In my view, it is this ignorance of how research is done, as much as ignorance of scientific or technical facts, that leads so many Americans to embrace creationism, astrology, and UFOs. Statistics on this point vary according to how questions are asked, but the National Science Foundation, in its 2008 survey of attitudes toward and knowledge of science, found that a minority of Americans—about 45 percent—accept the theory of evolution, a percentage that has held more or less steady for years.

A few offered examples of researchers who talked to reporters about their work only to find it wildly hyped in print. “Instead of being able to take simple pride in the article, the scientist is embarrassed his name appears at all,” one researcher wrote about a colleague’s bad experience with the press. Another wrote that while “quackulent quotations . . 40 covering science are a dime a dozen” the real problem is that journalists do not report the real research enterprise at all. “Very, very rarely are there articles saying ‘yet another stunningly complicated and boring experiment confirmed, yet again, something that everyone in the field has accepted for three decades,’” he wrote, yet science advances “not because of one piece of evidence or another, and certainly not because of one news article, but because of an avalanche of evidence; an argument or hypothesis survives a test, and then another, and again, and again.

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