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Epidemiology and social media: conference fail

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Tara C. Smith, an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, has an interesting blog post out about communicating science in 2011 based on her experience at the North American Congress of Epidemiology in Montreal this week.

"The reality is that scientists don't have to be passive any longer, relying only on reporters to translate their work for them in order to send it along to the public. We should have our soundbites, but realize that we can go beyond our manuscripts (I've had ones recently trimmed down to 1200 or even 800(!) words). We can write about the research if it's behind a paywall. We can write about the realities of doing our work as a jumping-off point after a journalist covers your research, and go beyond the dry data that goes into the paper. We can go beyond the press release and talk about what may be interesting to us about our findings, but maybe aren't the "meat" of the publication, or are secondary to the "main point" that you've worked on for your soundbites and want to emphasize to interested journalists. We can elaborate on interesting research done by others, to discuss subtleties that you can't fit into a 20-minute interview."

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Comments (1)

  1. Indeed, the empowerment of the internet for scientists is quite well known - it allows us to reach many more people than we ever have in our careers. Many scientists are blogging and podcasting and reaching new audiences, which appreciate the direct contact. This is why we just passed one million downloads on TWiV. It would be useful to emphasize such success stories as examples of what scientists can be doing.

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