What profession do you trust the most? A recent Ekos poll revealed good news for scientists. When answering the question “How much trust do you have in each of the following occupational groups or individuals?” scientists came out on top, beating out other professionals such as journalists, priests, politicians and union leaders.
This bodes well for scientists trying to communicate the complexity of current research. However, our television screens and newspapers are rarely filled with nuanced science commentary. The media is filled with simplified reports of scientific findings, annoying scientists and other technologists who have spent years analyzing problems.
Whose fault is this?
Scientists might be tempted to blame the media as being superficial and blasé about the rigours of scientific research. The media might lay the blame on scientists who speak in impenetrable jargon, unaware of how their research speaks to the priorities of the average Canadian.
Why is science such a challenge to cover well in mainstream media?
Still, the stakes are too high to give up. In the same Ekos survey, 69% of Canadians agreed with the statement “It really bothers me that hard scientific evidence isn’t shaping public policy to the degree that it should be.”
In an effort to bridge the divide, MaRS is hosting an event on April 4th devoted to looking at the intersection between research and the media. Journalists from different media and researchers from different fields will be meeting to discuss how we can best mend the rift that has grown between these two groups.
Want to continue this conversation in person? Join the Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education Introductory Event here at MaRS. Tickets are free, but must be requested from Project Coordinator Lindsay Archibald at Lindsay@treehousegroup.org.
The event is designed to draw attention to a large international conference, the Worldviews Conference on Media and Higher Education, being held in Toronto from June 16-18. Get more information on this at www.worldviewsconference.com.