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«Edited by Donald Kennedy and Geneva Overholser AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS & SCIENCES Science and the Media Please direct inquiries to: American Academy ...»

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By the same token, not all scientists and engineers need to be great communicators—but we need to make space for a few, respect them for what they do, and give them a platform for reaching the public. Too often the technical community has done the opposite of this—as in the case of Carl Sagan, who was denied membership in the National Academy of Sciences for his efforts to make astronomy accessible to the general public.

The usual excuse for not including more science and engineering content in mainstream journalism is that either it is “too hard” or “just not interesting.” I reject both excuses. At the level relevant to public policy, the content is not hard, and it can be made interesting. Even if I am wrong about that, the proportion of important public policy issues with a technological component is rapidly increasing. If we want to continue to have a democracy, citizens are going to have to understand some of this stuff!

RE S P O NS I B L E RE P ORT I NG I N A TECHN O LO G ICAL D EMO CRACY 93

Contributors Alan Alda, a Fellow of the American Academy since 2006, is an actor, writer, and director. He hosted the award-winning PBS series Scientific American Frontiers for eleven years. In January 2010, he hosted a new science series on PBS called The Human Spark. In 2006, he was presented with the National Science Board’s Public Service Award for his efforts in helping broaden the public’s understanding of science.

Robert Bazell has served as Chief Science and Health Correspondent for NBC News for more than thirty years. He is the author of many scholarly and popular articles as well as the book Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer (1998). He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Peabody, Columbia-DuPont, and several Emmys.

Rick E. Borchelt is Director of Communications for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research, education, and economics mission area. His career in science public affairs has included stints at the White House, Congress, academia, and industry in addition to the USDA and other federal agencies. He is a member of the board of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing and a past President of the D.C. Science Writers Association. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Cornelia Dean is a science writer and former Science Editor at The New York Times. She teaches seminars at Harvard University on the communication of science. Her publications include Am I Making Myself Clear? A Scientist’s Guide to Talking to the Public (2009) and Against the Tide (2001).

Lynne T. Friedmann is a science communications consultant and writer who has worked on behalf of Regis McKenna Public Relations, National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, The Salk Institute, and bioscience industry clients. She is Editor of ScienceWriters, published by the National Association of Science Writers. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association for Women in Science, and the Public Relations Society of America.

Alfred Hermida is Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He studies participatory journalism and social media; his research has appeared in Journalism Practice and M/C Journal. In 2010, he was named an IBM CAS Canada Research Faculty Fellow. A founding news editor of the BBC News website, he spent sixteen years at the BBC.

His work has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail, and The Times (London).

Earle Holland, Assistant Vice President for Research Communications at Ohio State University, has headed a program for more than three decades that explains university research to both the news media and the public. A former 94 S C I E NC E A ND THE MED IA reporter, his programs have garnered more than sixty awards, and he is recognized as a national leader in the field of science communications. He has taught graduate courses in science journalism and authored two regular newspaper columns spanning twenty-five years that cover science, medicine, and geography.

Donald Kennedy, a Fellow of the American Academy since 1968, is President Emeritus, Bing Professor of Environmental Science and Policy Emeritus, and Senior Fellow of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Science and former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. His recent publications include State of the Planet, 2008–2009 (with the editors of Science, 2009).

Jon D. Miller is currently the John A. Hannah Professor of Integrative Studies at Michigan State University. On August 1, 2010, he will join the faculty of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. His publications include Citizenship in an Age of Science (1980), The American People and Science Policy (1983), Public Perceptions of Science and Technology: A Comparative Study of the European Union, the United States, Japan, and Canada (1997), and Biomedical Communications: Purposes, Audiences, and Strategies (2001).

He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Geneva Overholser, a Fellow of the American Academy since 2001, is Director of the School of Journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. Previously, she held the Curtis B. Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Reporting at the Missouri School of Journalism; she served in the school’s Washington bureau. She was Editor of The Des Moines Register from 1988 to 1995, leading the paper to a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Cristine Russell is a Senior Fellow in the Environment and Natural Resources Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. She was a Spring 2006 Fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

She is President of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing and a past President of the National Association of Science Writers. A former Washington Post reporter, Russell is currently a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review and a correspondent for The Atlantic online.

William A. Wulf, a Fellow of the American Academy since 1995, is University Professor at the University of Virginia and President Emeritus of the National Academy of Engineering. He is the author of more than a hundred papers and two patents. His books include Fundamental Structures of Computer Science (1980) and The Design of an Optimizing Compiler (1980). He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Engineering and the Association of Computing Machinery. He is a member of eight foreign academies.

–  –  –

The Academy was founded during the American Revolution by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other leaders who contributed prominently to the establishment of the new nation, its government, and its Constitution. Its purpose was to provide a forum for a select group of scholars, members of the learned professions, and government and business leaders to work together on behalf of the democratic interests of the republic. In the words of the Academy’s Charter, enacted in 1780, the “end and design of the institution is... to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honour, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.” Today the Academy is both an honorary learned society and an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Current Academy research focuses on science and global security; social policy; the humanities and culture; and education.

The Academy supports early-career scholars through its Visiting Scholars Program and Hellman Fellowships in Science and Technology Policy, providing year-long residencies at its Cambridge, Massachusetts, headquarters. The Academy’s work is advanced by its 4,600 elected members, who are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs from around the world.

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