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RISKS AND PITFALLS IN COMMUNICATION WITH THE MEDIA Ole Didrik Laerum The Gade Institute University of Bergen EUPRIO Conference Stavanger 14.06.08.

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Presentasjon om: "RISKS AND PITFALLS IN COMMUNICATION WITH THE MEDIA Ole Didrik Laerum The Gade Institute University of Bergen EUPRIO Conference Stavanger 14.06.08."— Utskrift av presentasjonen:

1 RISKS AND PITFALLS IN COMMUNICATION WITH THE MEDIA Ole Didrik Laerum The Gade Institute University of Bergen EUPRIO Conference Stavanger

2 BACKGROUND  Research material and news have become valuable sales products  They are connected with commercial, institutional and political interests  New research data can be controversial and have strong political impacts


4 A FORTUNATE SITUATION  Non-commercial networks of internet based services for research news (Examples: AlphaGalileo,  Original scientific articles and editorials are easily accessible via internet for verification  Prepublication messages raise the awareness of scientific progresses

5 The society is becoming more and more dependent on research, but..  The big news media follow the principles of market economy  Headlines in news media often determine political issues related to science, include bioethics  Systematic quality control of research news is highly variable

6 TODAY IT CAN BE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO REACH OUT:  The public is already overloaded with information  Increasing competition between institutions for reaching public awareness  Science communication is often mixed with marketing of institution and competition for students and research money

7 THE NEW ATTITUDE TO LEARNING  Always a lot of new things to learn and understand  Scientific data get quickly outdated  It is more difficult erase from memory than to learn something new  Should deactivation of outdated knowledge become a new major issue in popular scientific presentations?



10 Science is always exposed to attacks from the outer world

11 SOME RISKS:  Nobody listens to you or reads your new data. You remain in complete darkness  Increasing focus on the person and less on the data  You become world famous over night  You present something totally wrong which is disseminated globally

12 PROBLEM:  Both the research institutions and the media like to present scientific heroes connected to a good story  The next day they are replaced by new heroes  The science becomes less important

13 A serious disease among some scientists: NOBELITIS (acute and/or chronic)


15 The Clinton effect: Immediate world-wide dissemination of private affairs

16 The dark side of fame: James Watson had to resign from his job because of two sentences  Nobel laureate and research director who gave an interview to an old friend


18 TWO MAIN WAYS OF PRESENTING SCIENCE  FACTS. Requires a systematic approach. Single pieces of information do not tell much  THE STORY. The narrative approach, where the human side may prevail  A combination can often make the presentation exciting and keep people awake


20 USE OF LANGUAGE  The level of the recipients is critical: Presentation for experts, for the whole scientific community or the general population?  Even the top experts can misunderstand. Simple language is critical  To write or talk to the general population as if they were children is dangerous  Difficulties when using your own language is easily underestimated  The version of English which is easiest to understand for foreigners is spoken by Frenchmen

21 PROBLEM  The worst presentations do not come from beginners in scientific communication. They are usually well prepared.  Established scientists with long experience are often the worst: They don’t care  Non-verbal communication is equally important as the words you are using. Should not be too humble and not arrogant.

22 SOME KEY PROBLEMS WITH MEDIA AND CONTACT WITH JOURNALISTS  Lack of time, f. ex. interviews via telephone or  Ignorance and lack of interest  No possibility to specialise in scientific writing  The reliability of sources is not checked, for ex. on Google  It is more important to earn money than to write the truth

23 HOW TO GET ACCESS TO SCIENCE:  Lack of available information is not a problem  The main challenge is to select and to understand. Guidance is therefore more important than to provide  A good journalist is therefore the reader’s advocate

24 We need those who dare to disagree

25 We need scientists who can see the horizon and not only the details



28 BAKGRUNN  Forsknings-stoff og nyheter er blitt salgsvare og er knyttet til kommersielle, institusjonelle og politiske interesser  I kontroversielle emner vil folk gjerne forholde seg til fagfolk de kan stole på  Forskningsformidling er blitt mer risikabelt enn før: Flere forskere har brent seg på ”Clinton- effekten”:  Oppmerksomheten til millionvis av mennesker er bare et par tastetrykk unna.  Det kan utgjøre en stor personlig risiko

29 NOEN SYNSPUNKT  Du må få lov til å være deg selv: Det er deg de vil ha  Publikum må få lov til å se og høre deg  Fyll rommet og ta et grep på publikum  Det er farlig å være morsom: Latter avleder i opptil flere minutter  Innøving og opplading på forhånd  Ta pulsen på forsamlingen, sikt og treff

30 FLERE FARER FOR HÅNDGEMENG :  Fyll lydrommet: Ææææææææææææh  Bruk så ofte du kan uttrykk som: På en måte, faktisk, liksom, gjerne, kanskje, ganske, altså På en måte, faktisk, liksom, gjerne, kanskje, ganske, altså  Se hele tiden på skjermen  Virr med laserpilen, helst i større og mindre sirkler. Pass på at den aldri er i ro

31 SPESIELLE PROBLEM  Problem med kunnskapseksplosjonen  Problem med informasjons- eksplosjonen  Dementering og avlæring Guidelines for giving a truly terrible talk, including slidesmanship and power point athletics

32 SLAPP AV  Publikum gjennomskuer deg allikevel  Holdninger smitter, og de tror gjerne på det som du tror på  Går det dårlig kommer du aldri mer dit  Tar du forsamlingen alvorlig blir du kanskje invitert igjen  Prinsippet med kulokk: Bølingen skal lokkes og ikke jages

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