Richard Ransohoff on scientist/media relations

“I don’t think scientists are hesitant to speak to the press. I just don’t think they’re good at it. But in fairness it is difficult to talk about cellular processes to people who [sometimes] don’t know their bodies are made out of cells.”

- Richard Ransohoff, quoted in The Scientist

Why trust a reporter, asks a feature written by Edyta Zielinska in this month’s The Scientist magazine. Various experts, including neuroscientist Ransohoff, give their answer to the question of why scientists should deal with the media, ranging from the altruistic (it is a scientist’s “duty” to spread the word about publicly funded research, and to get the public excited) to the self-interested (it might raise your profile amongst the great and the good). Speaking to the press about complicated research is not easy, but the feature argues that it is on balance a good thing to try to do it intelligently. The piece also offers helpful tips on how to deal with journalists, whether from print or broadcast media, and includes common pitfalls to avoid.