Photo credit: Howard Ignatius. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

Scared, But Resolute: Thoughts on the First Few Days of a Trump White House

Photo credit: Howard Ignatius. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Photo credit: Howard Ignatius. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

I grew up during the Cold War. My memories of childhood include a constant anxiety that ran just beneath the surface; the fear that, at any minute, someone would push a button that unleashed nuclear war. Continue reading “Scared, But Resolute: Thoughts on the First Few Days of a Trump White House”

What Scientists Want Out Of Online Engagement

Photo credit: duncan c. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Photo credit: duncan c. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

A recent article published in PLOS ONE looked at what scientists hope to achieve when engaging with the public online – via websites, blogs or social networks. The findings are interesting. Among other things, the study reports that scientists give the lowest priority to the communication objectives that may be most useful for actually engaging effectively with the public. Continue reading “What Scientists Want Out Of Online Engagement”

Selfish Reasons for Researchers to Publicize Their Study Findings

Photo credit: Army Medicine, via Flickr. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Photo credit: Army Medicine, via Flickr. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

Researchers are not obligated to publicize their research findings – and they shouldn’t be. Some people enjoy public outreach. Some people don’t. But those who are on the fence should know that there are very practical, selfish reasons to publicize their work. Continue reading “Selfish Reasons for Researchers to Publicize Their Study Findings”

From Policy to Funding, Science Communication May Be More Important Than Ever

Detail of an image by secretlondon123, obtained via Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Detail of an image by secretlondon123, obtained via Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

If you think science should inform policy decisions or you just want to ensure that there is continued government support for scientific research, you should be alarmed by a new report from the Pew Research Center. Here’s the short version: the U.S. public is markedly less supportive of federal science funding than it was five years ago, and is less likely to be swayed by science on policy issues. This should be a wake-up call to the science community: science communication is more important than ever, and the overarching science community needs to figure out how to reach the public in a meaningful way. Continue reading “From Policy to Funding, Science Communication May Be More Important Than Ever”

Study: Talking To Reporters Can Boost Scientific Impact (And So Can Twitter)

Photo credit: NASA, via Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: NASA, via Wikimedia Commons

A recent paper in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly highlights the role of public communications in boosting a researcher’s profile in the science community and finds that Twitter appears to increase the impact of those public communication efforts. Continue reading “Study: Talking To Reporters Can Boost Scientific Impact (And So Can Twitter)”

Scicomm Accessibility: A Call For Shared Language

Photo credit: warleyross/stock.xchng
Photo credit: warleyross/stock.xchng

High profile policy issues, such as those related to global climate change or antibiotic resistance, highlight the need for helping people understand scientific concepts and how they relate to “real world” problems. And there seems to be an increasing level of awareness among scientists, reporters and bloggers (among others) that science communication, as a discipline, can help us communicate more effectively with a wide array of audiences. Continue reading “Scicomm Accessibility: A Call For Shared Language”

NSF’s ‘Indicators’ Report: Science Communication, News and Television

Photo: Daniel Lobo
Photo: Daniel Lobo

If you want to engage in science communication, getting mainstream news coverage offers the most bang for your buck. But is anyone interested? And which news outlets should you try to reach? A recent report from the National Science Foundation (NSF) offers some interesting insights into science news coverage and public attitudes toward science. One of my take-home messages? Television matters even more than I thought. Continue reading “NSF’s ‘Indicators’ Report: Science Communication, News and Television”