The art of science communication is to pitch something as complicated as CRISPR-Cas9 that is not only engaging to the general public and faithful to the evidence but also communicated in a way that your grandmother would understand. According to Fran Castle, the Global Brand and Media Relations Senior Communications Manager at BASF Bioscience Research, 81% of public relation professionals feel as though they cannot successfully do their job without social media. Additionally, 78% of journalists say they use social media, while 50% admit they do not fact-check before publishing.
Left to Right: Marlowe Ivey Vaughn,
Kurt Boudonck, Hope Hart, and Fran Castle
During CAST's 2017 Annual Meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, attendees participated in a panel discussion that addressed applying the science of communication to the communication of science. Four industry professionals provided their insight and recommendations on how to turn scientists into communicators. "Tailor your story to your target audience. Speaking only in jargon is useless at a time when scientists are no longer the keepers of information. Keep it simple and easy to understand," stated Castle.
The challenge of science communication is that it has to be sold to the public. There is a vast amount of information readily available online, and if you do not learn to share your message in a relatable way, someone else will. Marlowe Ivey Vaughn, Executive Director at Feed the Dialogue NC, stressed the importance of recognizing the growing disconnect between the average person and modern agriculture. Hope Hart, Product Safety Team Leader at Syngenta Biotechnology, encouraged attendees to (1) limit your science speak, (2) illuminate the benefits, and (3) explain the safety when talking to your family and friends about GMOs. It is important to remember that the level of science vocabulary, data, and studies you use during your conversations depends entirely on the audience's level of understanding, not yours.
By: Kylie Peterson