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

By Cornelia Dean

What we don’t be aware of can harm us—and does so each day. weather swap, wellbeing and fitness care coverage, guns of mass destruction, an getting older infrastructure, stem phone study, endangered species, area exploration—all impact our lives as electorate and people in useful and profound methods. yet except we comprehend the technological know-how in the back of those matters, we can't make moderate decisions—and worse, we're vulnerable to propaganda cloaked in medical rhetoric.

To express the proof, this booklet indicates, scientists needs to take a extra energetic function in making their paintings obtainable to the media, and therefore to the general public. In Am I Making Myself Clear? Cornelia Dean, a exotic technology editor and reporter, urges scientists to beat their institutional reticence and permit their voices be heard past the discussion board of scholarly e-book. via providing valuable 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 simply too frequently misrepresented or hyped. much more very important, she seeks to persuade them of the worth and urgency of speaking to the general public.

Am I Making Myself Clear? exhibits scientists how one can converse 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 might increase the tone and content material of discussion over serious matters and should serve the pursuits of technology and society.

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

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We want to find things out, and share the information with others, and we want to do it first. We are analytical. Of every new finding or report we ask, What does this mean? What are its implications? We are critical of our own work and the work of others. And we are highly motivated, persistent, overachieving, independent thinkers who challenge authority, whether the conventional scientific/engineering 42 covering science wisdom or the powers that be (“afflict the comfortable”). But we are a lot different too.

And we are a large and (relatively) lavishly supported science news staff. The trouble we have is multiplied for reporters who normally cover politics or zoning boards and suddenly find themselves parachuting into a story about cloning or cold fusion or endangered species or some other technical issue. Researchers would do well to keep these problems in mind when they are irked by a journalist’s performance. But when I talk to researchers about coverage of science and technology, which I do often, journalistic incompetence is one of their perennial themes.

About 40 percent are freelance writers for a variety of publications, and the rest are public information officers for universities, government agencies, private companies, and other organizations, or they are journalism teachers or scholars of journalism. As news organizations like CNN abolish science reporting teams and the ranks of full-time science reporters shrink, the coverage of science and technology shrinks too. And when science and engineering are covered, often the journalist on the job is someone with little technical background.

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