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    Gerd Moe-Behrens said:

    As always a great blogs and very interesting series. PR is really important. We need good science communicators. This might become of special importance as we see a tendency of democratization of science. The field of crowd sourcing and crowd financing is on it’s way to become a more dominate factor in science, and more citizens starting to participate in the scientific discovery process (see e.g. the DIY/garage scientists). Thus we will have an increasing need for science communication. There has always been great examples for science communication, such as Carl Sagan. I would be great to get tips form PR experts and experienced journalists to learn how to do this.
    I personally try to use social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to post about my specific area of interest: Synthetic Biology. I think this works quite well, when we go there where the people are. I had many awesome discussions. You reach both experts and interested people. People outside your research field can really contribute with sometimes exiting new ideas and views. This opening of science has great potential for the scientific discovery process and thus it is important to communicate in an understandable way.

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    Linda Wilshusen said:

    Thanks Kate (& others engaging in this really important discussion) – it’s one reason I’ve been following your blog. I’m not a scientist but the natural world as described by science is my world view. Many people I know (also mostly non-scientists) share this world view, but it takes alot of effort to keep up with ‘generalist’ facts about the nature of things (so to speak). I actually enjoy reading debates like the current one about kin/group selection, but the general, nature-oriented public just wants to have a better, basic grasp of the facts. I’m trying to do that in my own blog (which will go unnamed here because I don’t want my comment to be unauthorized), & I therefore appreciate your engagement in this issue. (Good) Popular Science is a good thing!

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    Michael Morales said:

    Sadly, scientists are looked like foreign people of an unknown type.

    I think that mainly is because a very low quality educational system, parent’s bad influence, and pop media pressure. Of course, it’s no help that the few efforts to make science appealing are sometimes refereed as “attention-seekers” or constrained to “science must be serious”, by colleagues. It’s also difficult to make science appealing in times of economic uncertainty.

    Why “After all, shouldn’t the facts speak for themselves?”, because the opposite is directed to pure emotions, and we still live with three generations where the oldest is prone to believe and be guided by emotions, something learned by their progeny; which in turn are imitated by the younger.

    Ideas:
    Improving the educational system, specially for kids. Better education will eventually reduce the low quality tv shows; get rid of the idea that science is not socially accepted, not popular, that only a “special kind” of people do.

    Debunk the idea that science is cold. It just makes things better, better in a sense that something is more beautiful when you get to know it (it’s not shallow!). Science doesn’t mean “turn into a robot”.

    In these times of economical crisis, show the benefits if not of being a scientist, of understanding why they are important; something really difficult if you don’t feel immediate and direct effects in your life.

    The rest is Time. I love the “ongoing efforts”, but the real results will appear in the long run.

    Thank you.

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    Martin Meyer-Gossner said:

    Very good approach and the right vision for the future. Knowledge sharing and knowledge management is heading towards transparency in business and also should do so in science. However, for the time being I think scientists could do with some help and training from PR specialists and journalists in this field of social sharing. Scientists need to know which communication channels add value to their network, their knowledge, their fields of interest. Do scientists always need to use all “cool” channels (Facebook, Twitter and the likes) or just a community platform like wikis? What are good texts and why? What’s the right wording?

    We, the non-scientists, want to get a glimpse into the scientists brain, definitely. How this may happen?
    Well, may I ask you and the scientist community when we will have the first doctoral thesis which we can follow on its way from beginning to the final paper in a “blog lifecycle”? This would be an amazing project, transparent, story-telling, breaking the academic borders, and giving the option to understand the creative and intelligent spirit of a scientist. Is this too progressive a thought? Maybe…

    Apart from that… This blog/community is good, the registration process needs to be optimized in order not to create barriers for non-scientists to join the conversation. It took me almost 10 minutes to register. Too long…

    Just my 5 cents. Continue your work. It’s good!

    Walk on!

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    Richard Weber said:

    Great article! Having been a consumer PR professional for decades, in my mind, scientific outreach can be distilled into two processes. First the facts have to be applicable to everyone in everyday life. Mainstream media will not care how important a finding or a breakthrough in science is if it has no relevance to their viewing or reading audience. The litmus test is asking yourself, why should their readers care? If you have a solid answer, chances are you will gain media traction.

    Second, it has to have validity. There will always be contrarians and naysayers that will attempt to refute or neutralize your point-of-view. However, if your foundation of logic and fact stand up to scrutiny it will also make your finding more acceptable to the journalists that will most certainly try to find counter-points to your subject, simply to create a compelling storyline.

    If you can answer the questions above and you have a strong PR advocate like Kate or myself behind you, scientific visibility can most certainly become more mainstream.

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    darlene cavalier said:

    Thanks for sharing this. Great post. Best line: “The key to any successful PR strategy is to figure out who is your target audience.” It’s something, frankly, Zuska misses in her rants about the Science Cheerleaders. Addressing this since her post is linked to in your post.

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