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Posts Tagged ‘Media’

The Lie of Timely

Like most of you, I’m horrified, ashamed and frustrated by many of the events of the last eight days — much less the last three months — in the United States.

Is this a turning point? we might ask.

Not if the last 50 years — Watts 1965, Newark 1967, Miami 1980, LA 1992, Cincinnati 2001, Ferguson 2014, Baltimore 2015, Charlotte 2016, etc.,…

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COVID-19 and the Knowledge Resource We’re Not Getting

In a crisis, it’s not enough to disseminate accurate information about what is already known and should be universally understood. (Example: during the COVID-19 epidemic, wash your hands.)

It’s also crucial to disseminate the best evidence-based knowledge about what might come next, along with the level of uncertainty about that knowledge.…

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Stop Overplaying Your Study

My blood runs cold every time I hear researchers say: “We hope our study won’t be interpreted as saying (insert horrible unintended conclusion not warranted by the study’s findings).”

Because it means a) they don’t have clear messaging for their study, b) they’ve overframed their study, or c) they have clear messaging but haven’t enforced it.…

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One Cheer for Sexy Soundbite Scicomm

Ecologist Manu Saunders (who helpfully poked holes in the “insect apocalypse” narrative) now asks: “How damaging is sexy soundbite scicomm?

Wait: first, what is “sexy soundbite scicomm”? As best I can tell from Saunders’ post, it’s comms or reporting that

  1. Hypes Big Data as the master key to all problems;
  2. Lionizes individual researchers; and/or
  3. Promotes single-study findings (like the insect apocalypse or the “we’ve lost 3 billion birds in North America” ones) over what she terms “scientific context.”
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For the Birds

Researchers: just passive participants in those terribly misleading media campaigns for their papers?

Michael Schulson writes in Undark about the hyping of that big bird-decline Science magazine study I wrote about last week. In Schulson’s retelling, it was

  • A) Overenthusiastic science communicators +
  • B) A big journal hungry for media that offers very little space to the paper itself (hence, for scientific nuance) that led to
  • C) a sensationalist media storyline to take advantage of a growing public taste for apocalypse.
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