Am I Making Myself Clear?: A Scientist's Guide to Talking to the Publicby Cornelia Dean
What we don’t know can hurt usand does so every day. Climate change, health care policy, weapons of mass destruction, an aging infrastructure, stem cell research, endangered species, space explorationall affect our lives as citizens and human beings in practical and profound ways. But unless we understand the science behind these issues, we cannot
What we don’t know can hurt usand does so every day. Climate change, health care policy, weapons of mass destruction, an aging infrastructure, stem cell research, endangered species, space explorationall affect our lives as citizens and human beings in practical and profound ways. But unless we understand the science behind these issues, we cannot make reasonable decisionsand worse, we are susceptible to propaganda cloaked in scientific rhetoric.
To convey the facts, this book suggests, scientists must take a more active role in making their work accessible to the media, and thus to the public. In Am I Making Myself Clear? Cornelia Dean, a distinguished science editor and reporter, urges scientists to overcome their institutional reticence and let their voices be heard beyond the forum of scholarly publication. By offering useful hints for improving their interactions with policymakers, the public, and her fellow journalists, Dean aims to change the attitude of scientists who scorn the mass media as an arena where important work is too often misrepresented or hyped. Even more important, she seeks to convince them of the value and urgency of communicating to the public.
Am I Making Myself Clear? shows scientists how to speak to the public, handle the media, and describe their work to a lay audience on paper, online, and over the airwaves. It is a book that will improve the tone and content of debate over critical issues and will serve the interests of science and society.
I strongly recommend this book...Any researcher looking to communicate better will find Cornelia Dean's book invaluable. The range of ways to communicate that she covers is enlightening, challenging researchers to consider new outlets.
One can only hope that researchersand the academic administrators who decide what the scientists of tomorrow need to knowread [this] concise, sharply written volume and take [its] message to heart. The process of reconnecting science and society cannot start soon enough.
Am I Making Myself Clear? is as much about why scientists need to talk to the public as it is about how we should talk science to the public. [Cornelia Dean] argues that scientists need to develop a civic persona that finds some way to communicate science. Dean's wisdom, especially for engaging in the political arena, is delivered with a mix of authority and charm...Am I Making Myself Clear? ought to be required reading in all science graduate programs.
If you want the facts, laid down in a simple, unfussy style, then get a copy of Am I Making Myself Clear? by Cornelia Dean, veteran science writer and former science editor of The New York Times. This book should sit on the shelf of every scientist, science communicator and university press officer. I've never read a better, more thorough guide to science communication in all its forms. Dean's suggestions for how to be interviewed by a journalistfor print, radio and televisionare spot on. From the preparation you need to do, including how to dress on TV, to always assuming everything you say is "on the record," her book is packed full of valuable information. She also advises on producing content for the web, writing your own book and press releases, and dealing with politicians.
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Meet the Author
Cornelia Dean is a science writer and former science editor at the New York Times and teaches seminars on the communication of science at Harvard University.
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