Paper No. 178-7
Presentation Time: 9:55 AM
BEST PRACTICES FOR COMMUNICATING ON CONTENTIOUS SCIENCE TOPICS
Geoscientists in the United States are increasingly participating in science communication and political engagement, from contributing to education initiatives to advocating for evidence-based policies. They are also called upon more frequently to speak to the media and public about their findings. Some well-meaning researchers and academics have experienced problems after discussing certain science topics, especially climate, seismic, and other geosciences research. Although the chances of encountering serious trouble are small, there are things scientists should be aware of when it comes to discussing politically contentious or emotionally-charged topics. In this talk, an attorney from the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund will discuss best practices for communicating on social media and other online platforms, how to respond to negative or threatening messages, what scientists should know if they want to be politically active, and other lessons learned from counseling hundreds of researchers over the years. These tips will help scientists communicate clearly and effectively to people from different backgrounds, and help the public make informed science-related choices while minimizing pitfalls for science communicators.