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Science and the media are not strange bedfellows since they both gather information, value accuracy and objectivity, and recognize their enormous social responsibilities. The public often benefits from interactions between science and the media, and these two institutions often complement each other. However, since they have different standards, goals, expertises, competencies, and funding sources, science and the media can sometimes interact in ways that produce unintended, adverse consequences for the public. Sometimes the public may become misinformed, deceived, or confused as a result of the media's coverage of science. This unfortunate effect can lead to poor policy decisions, ill-informed public opinion, and the inability to make appropriate use of scientific information. In order to prevent these adverse consequences, scientists need to pay special attention to their interactions with the media. This essay will discuss these interactions in order to suggest some ways that scientists can prevent ethical problems and solve ethical dilemmas in their dealings with the media.

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Conference Paper

Research Area

Communication | Life Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Physics | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. SBR-9511817. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The texts of the workshop talks have been prepared by the speakers themselves. The other material has been prepared by the editors based on discussions during the workshop and feedback from those who have read earlier drafts. While every effort has been made to accurately reflect the facts and opinions supplied by these contributors, the editors take full responsibility for any inaccuracies. The author would like to give special thanks to participants in this workshop for their comments and criticism, especially Marshall Thomsen, Tina Kaarsberg, Alvin Saperstein, and James Sheerin.


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