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Risk Communication and Ebola

Posted 18 October 2014 by Paige Brown Jarreau

The fight against Ebola in Guinea. European Commission DG ECHO, Flickr.com

Just this past week, I gave a lecture on risk communication to the students of Coastal Environmental Communication (#SciCommLSU) at the Manship School of Mass Communication. I found myself comparing our relatively low concern with serious, long-term environmental impacts in coastal Louisiana with our irrationally high concern over low probability risks, including coming into contact with the Ebola virus while in the U.S. Seeing the current state of overblown fears over Ebola in the U.S., when that concern would be much more constructively channeled into efforts... Read more

A Science Journalist’s Chances

Posted 6 October 2014 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Benjamin1

Frank Nuijens, @FrankNu on Twitter, recently pinged me in a tweet featuring an infographic that one of his Masters of Science Communication students created after reading my EMBO Reports article on the future of science journalism, An Explosion of Alternatives. Intrigued, I got in touch with the student, Benjamin Mul, to ask if he could talk to me about his graphics, shown below. Frank is a science journalist and founder of ScienceOnline Leiden, the Dutch community of people communicating about... Read more

As Ebola Arrived, the Texas Public Health Lab was Ready

Posted 2 October 2014 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Testing of the first German BSL-4 Laboratory. Rolf K. Wegst, Flickr.com.

Editor's Note: This is a guest blog post by Michelle M. Forman. Michelle is the senior media specialist for the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), a nonprofit membership organization representing the laboratories that protect the health and safety of the public. Often referred to as the “unsung heroes of public health,” the public health laboratories protect the public against diseases and other health hazards, ranging from testing of water, food, dairy and environmental products to investigation of newly emerging infectious diseases. ... Read more

I’ve Never Been On a Top Twitter Science List

Posted 1 October 2014 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Listen. http://ow.ly/Cab4o

I've never been on a 'top scientists to follow on Twitter' list. (I might now be on a #WomenTweetScienceToo list on Twitter somewhere, but not any published articles featuring a 'list' of science people to follow on Twitter, that I know of). When I was a 'younger Tweeter', I would quickly look over new lists I saw popping up in published articles and science blogs, just to see if, in some crazy alternate reality, I might be included. But of course I... Read more

Scientists, We Do Trust You, Even If You Could Be a Little Warmer

Posted 27 September 2014 by Paige Brown Jarreau

How trustworthy would you rate this scientist? Image: Chesapeake Bay Program, Scientist in dive gear, Flickr.com

In a study published online before print in PNAS on September 15 this year, Susan Fiske and Cydney Dupree from the psychology and public affairs department at Princeton University explore how credible, warm and competent Americans find scientists. Why? Because in their expanding role as communicators, scientists need to engage people’s emotions and values as well as their ‘brains.’ And to do so, scientists as communicators need the public’s trust. “Science communicators try to persuade the public that they are... Read more

Science Blogging Tips from Mass Communication Students

Posted 26 September 2014 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Science Blogging. Shutterstock: http://ow.ly/C0dcG

Paige Brown Jarreau: This is a guest post by Maddie Duhon, Kathryn Courtney and Savanna Ronco, students of #SciCommLSU, a coastal environmental communication course I currently co-teach at the Manship School of Mass Communication. These students are mass communication undergraduates interested in learning how to communicate about science. This week, they were tasked with surveying a sample of blogs/posts from the science blogosphere and coming up with their own tips to engage readers. Their responses are included with their permission here.... Read more

Outbreak Abroad

Posted 24 September 2014 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Sierra Leone, into the Ebola epicentre, by European Commission DG ECHO Flickr Image.

How do journalists in different nations report infectious disease outbreaks? "Outbreak. The word spawns chills and premonitions of hacking coughs, boils, oozing sores and death. Emerging viruses in the Middle East or East Asia, such as MERS and H7N9, are certainly frightening, but how does the coverage by outsider media compare to the sentiments of those reporting from ground zero of an epidemic? This story concept spawned from a conversation that I once had about the taboos instilled against certain regions by global news coverage of infectious disease outbreaks.... Read more

Covering Ebola

Posted 19 September 2014 by Paige Brown Jarreau

UNICEF Guinea, Flickr.com.
UNICEF and AJCOM team on the ground sensitizing people in Conakry about Ebola. Teaching children handwashing and its importance.
UNICEF and AJCOM team on the ground sensitizing people in Conakry about Ebola. Teaching children handwashing and its importance.

As of September 14, 2014, 2,630 people have lost their lives to the Ebola virus, according to the CDC, with a total case count of 5,347. The current outbreak has been the subject of extended media coverage globally. But as journalists, bloggers and scientists come together to discuss the causes, implications, 'what if's', challenges and potential solutions of this outbreak, many of us have questioned whether we are focusing on the right things. Are we being scientifically accurate? Are we conveying the... Read more

In Response to the Top 50 Science List

Posted 18 September 2014 by Paige Brown Jarreau

IMG_5440

This post is in response to the 'top 50 science stars of Twitter' list published on Science Magazine's website today. Regardless of the methods used to put together that list, and whether or not the methods were fair and not inherently biased against women in science (my impression is that they are extremely biased), I've complied my own list of some of the top science stars of Twitter - this time focusing on women. From the Science Mag top 50 science stars... Read more

To Keep Moving is To Live

Posted 15 September 2014 by Paige Brown Jarreau

Carol Foil - Flickr.com
Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens)

We’ve all seen the scenario in our high school biology textbooks. A single population of fish shares a large Pond. But then something drastic happens in the landscape. Perhaps a drought occurs, and the large Pond partially dries up to leave two smaller ponds separated from each other by a hill or expanse of higher, dry land. If this separation lasts long enough, combining the fish from pond A and pond B produces an interesting effect – the fish can... Read more