A Scientist's Guide to Talking with the Media

Practical tips for scientists and researchers interested in communicating with the media.

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Scientists often feel uncomfortable with media contact. They may hesitate to generalize for fear of distorting the truth, or be otherwise uneasy with anyone seeking an eye-catching lead.

Yet by avoiding potential misrepresentations, scientists also sacrifice opportunities to educate the public on important issues related to health, the environment, national security, and much more.

In A Scientist’s Guide to Talking with the Media, Richard Hayes and Daniel Grossman draw on their expertise in public relations and journalism to empower researchers to spread their message on their own terms. The authors provide tips on how to translate abstract concepts into concrete metaphors, craft sound bites, and prepare for interviews. For those looking for a higher profile, the authors explain how to become a reporter’s trusted source—the first card in the Rolodex—on controversial issues.

A must-read for all scientists, this book shows how it is possible for the discoveries that hibernate in lecture halls and academic journals to reach a broader audience in a way that is accurate and effective. 

This book is essential medicine for the pandemic of scientific illiteracy. The architects of the explosive growth of science-based technology must communicate as never before and there is now a lucid guide.

Leon Lederman, Nobel Prize in Physics

About the authors: 

Richard Hayes is Deputy Communications Director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, where for over twenty years he has helped scientists across the country become more effective with the press. Hayes was previously a reporter for a bipartisan caucus in the U.S. Congress, where he also coordinated a task force on climate science.

Daniel Grossman is an award-winning science journalist and former reporter for National Public Radio's show on the environment, Living on Earth. He has written for publications such as theNew York Times, Rolling Stone, and Scientific American. He has also taught science journalism at the Boston University School of Journalism.