When Science and the Media Mix

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Science  01 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6025, pp. 13
DOI: 10.1126/science.1205172

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As the devastating impacts of Japan's earthquake and tsunami continue to unfold, and concern over the Fukushima nuclear power plant grows, communication between scientists and the media has never been more vital. Fourteen years ago, journalist Jim Hartz and physicist Rick Chappell warned in their book Worlds Apart: How the Distance Between Science and Journalism Threatens America's Future that people are dangerously unenlightened about science's role in many aspects of life and society, in part because of the inability of scientists and journalists to understand each other. Today's relentless 24-hour media news cycle and blogosphere offer ample opportunities for both parties to provide politicians, policy-makers, and the public with scientific knowledge needed to inform their opinions and decisions. Yet the communication gap continues.