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View Full Version : Mass media often failing in its coverage of global warming, says climate researcher


Mousehound
02-14-2009, 08:49 AM
"Business managers of media organizations, you are screwing up your responsibility by firing science and environment reporters who are frankly the only ones competent to do this," said climate researcher and policy analyst Stephen Schneider, in assessing the current state of media coverage of global warming and related issues.

Schneider, a coordinating lead author of chapter 19 in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published in 2007, is calling for the news media to employ trained reporters in covering global warming. He will be discussing this and other issues in the symposium "Hot and Hotter: Media Coverage of Climate-Change Impacts, Policies, and Politics," which runs today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.

"Science is not politics. You can't just get two opposing viewpoints and think you've done due diligence. You've got to cover the multiple views and the relative credibility of each view," said Schneider, a senior fellow at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment. "But that is not usually the problem of the well-trained reporters, who understand what is credible.

"The problem is CNN just fired their science team. Why didn't they fire their economics team or their sports team?" "Why don't they send their general assignment reporters out to cover the Superbowl?" Schneider said. Researchers have to do their part, too, he said, by clearly explaining issues to reporters in succinct terms.

"I have arguments with some of my scientific colleagues, who think it is irresponsible to go out and talk when you can only get 5 seconds on the evening news, a couple of quotes in the New York Times, or five minutes in front of Congress," Schneider said.

"Well, you know what guys, that's just how it is," he said. "And if you think that you have a higher calling and you're not going to play the game because they don't give you the time to tell the whole story, then all it means is that you've passed the buck to others who know the topic less well."

"You have to have your elevator statement or people won't listen to you," Schneider said.

"What I always suggest is that scientists find metaphors that convey both urgency and uncertainty, so that you can get people's attention while at the same time not overstating the case," he said. "Then you have websites and backup articles and books where you can give the full story, but you have to have your sound bite and your op ed piece."

More here:
http://www.physorg.com/news153749202.html

southerncross
02-14-2009, 11:21 AM
"What I always suggest is that scientists find metaphors that convey both urgency and uncertainty, so that you can get people's attention while at the same time not overstating the case," he said. "Then you have websites and backup articles and books where you can give the full story, but you have to have your sound bite and your op ed piece."

So is this what it's all about, getting attention? This guy seem's more interested in Job's than anything else.

Mousehound
02-14-2009, 03:11 PM
So is this what it's all about, getting attention? This guy seem's more interested in Job's than anything else.

Well, that is one part of it for sure. If your reads are boring, no one is going to read what you wrote, but that wasn't the main point. The main point was that if science articles are not writen by people who understand the differnt view points of the science topic, they are not qualified to produce an accurate article.

gsgs
02-14-2009, 03:20 PM
"What I always suggest is that scientists find metaphors that convey both urgency and uncertainty, so that you can get people's attention while at the same time not overstating the case," he said. "Then you have websites and backup articles and books where you can give the full story, but you have to have your sound bite and your op ed piece."


probability estimates would be sufficient and informative

DryHeat
02-15-2009, 10:14 AM
probability estimates would be sufficientSufficient only for the tiny percent of the public (many of whom are voters in democracies, after all) who can think in terms of statistics. How many people reading newspapers and looking at web-based articles can define correctly "variance," "standard deviation," ".05 significance," "arithmetic mean," and so forth? Probability thinking MUST be converted to more general conclusions for majority comprehension given the sad state of education even in "developed" countries.

Do you expect people who can't even correctly use apostrophes in simple sentences to understand science expressed in statistical language? It's bad enough having to read their blatherings on boards like this, trying to criticize actual scientists using direct language discussing the key issues of our time.