Monday, March 21, 2016

Climate Feedback

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where I am taking part in a workshop on "Science in Climate Change Media Coverage". Climate Feedback is a US based group of climate scientists attempting to correct the bias they see in the media over the science of global warming. While well intentioned their approach seems a little naive. The scientists seem to want to have media comment for the public as if it was in a scientific journal. Journalists are not, in general, scientists and they are writing for the general pubic.

If scientists want to communicate with journalists, or directly to the public, they need to learn how to do it (which is not easy). Universities run courses for scientists on media communication, such as by ANU Strategic Communications and Public Affairs (SCAPA). There are also specialist science communicators, such as the ANU Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science (CPAS). Universities subscribe to specialist services, such as the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC). It might be useful to have trained educators involved, as they have expertise in communicating complex topics in simple language (scientists are not necessarily educators).

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