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Communicating with the Press

“Scientific training continues to turn out researchers who speak in careful nuances and with many caveats, in a language aimed at their peers, not at the media or the public. Many scientists can scarcely contemplate framing a simple media message for maximum impact; the very idea sounds unbecoming. And many of them don’t trust the public or the press: According to a recent Pew study, 85 percent of U.S. scientists say it’s a ‘major problem’ that the public doesn’t know much about science, and 76 percent say the same about what they see as the media’s inability to distinguish between well-supported science and less-than-scientific claims. Rather than spurring greater efforts at communication, such mistrust and resignation have further motivated some scientists to avoid talking to reporters and going on television.

They no longer have that luxury. … What’s more, amid the current upheaval in the media industry, the traditional science journalists who have long sought to bridge the gap between scientists and the public are losing their jobs en masse. As New York Times science writer Natalie Angier recently observed, her profession is ‘basically going out of existence.’ If scientists don’t take a central communications role, nobody else with the same expertise and credibility will do it for them.” — Chris Mooney, a Knight fellow in science journalism at MIT and the co-author with Sheril Kirshenbaum of “Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future” (January 3, 2010 Washington Post)

Preparing for an Interview

DOs and DON’Ts of Interviewing

After the Interview

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