Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Why scientists must learn to talk to the media" ... this time a plea by the Financial Times

Public communication through the eyes of The Onion

Financial Times columnist Michael Skapinker had an excellent piece late last month about public communication between scientists and the public. Unfortunately, I traveled too much this past month and forgot to blog about this, but I still wanted to post at least a few paragraphs since they highlight almost perfectly some of the issues that are at the crux of the communication problems science continues to have:

Science and the media have not always served each other well. Last week, the Royal Society of Arts and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism hosted a stimulating discussion on the theme “Do scientists get the media they deserve?” The speakers were Craig Venter, the genome research pioneer, and Niall Dickson, a former BBC journalist who is now chief executive of the King’s Fund, the independent health charity.

On the basis of his performance, Mr Venter, who was once described in The New Yorker as an “idiot”, does not get the press he deserves. He was amusing and quietly spoken. He was also easier on journalists than Mr Dickson, who worried about the media’s tendency to sensationalise, to oversimplify and to reduce the world to black and white.

(Click here for the full article.)