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Posts Tagged ‘media policies’

West Virginia Scientists to EPA, CDC: Allow Your Scientists to Speak

UPDATE: See responses below from CDC and EPA officials.

This morning, two dozen West Virginia scientists wrote to the CDC and EPA to urge the two agencies to give more freedom to their scientists to communicate with the press and public, especially during emergencies like the ongoing water contamination crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of West Virginians. Read More

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Is the Water Safe? The West Virginia Chemical Spill and the Importance of Scientists’ Speaking to the Media

When news broke last week that West Virginia’s Elk River had been contaminated with the coal-processing chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM), attention quickly turned to the scientists who could help the public understand what was at stake. With the spill just upstream of a treatment plant supplying water to 300,000 West Virginians, the questions were pressing: What was known about MCHM? Is my health and that of my family and pets at risk? Should I worry about the odor? These questions and many more arose from citizens, reporters, and decision makers. But as the event unfolded, we saw that scientists weren’t always given a chance to answer them. Read More

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Towards Open Access to Government Science: The Obama Administration Takes Some Important Steps

This week, the National Research Council is holding public comment meetings on increasing public access to federally funded research—both access to the data and publications. We encouraged the UCS Science Network to weigh in with their own ideas on how the government can increase public access to its science. After all, this is the science that we all pay for through our tax dollars. Read More

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Margaret Atwood on the Muzzling of Canadian Government Scientists

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday aired a short talk from author and critic Margaret Atwood on two critical issues: the muzzling of Canadian government scientists and the importance of collecting adequate scientific information about threats to public health and safety. It is well worth four minutes of your day to listen in, and I’ve transcribed her remarks below.  Read More

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#ScioDC: A Conversation on Scientists, Government, and Social Media This Week

This Wednesday, I’ll be speaking at the inaugural event of ScienceOnlineDC about the recent UCS report I co-authored, Grading Government Transparency: Scientists’ Freedom to Speak (and Tweet) at Federal Agencies. ScienceOnlineDC is a newly formed Washington, DC satellite of ScienceOnline, a nonprofit organization that facilitates conversations, community, and collaborations at the intersection of science and the Web. Read More

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Four Hours after UCS Report Release, United States Geological Survey Takes a Step Forward

UPDATE Monday March 18 3:00PM (see below):

Who ever said the federal government can’t work fast?

This morning, UCS released a report analyzing how federal government agencies and departments allow their scientists to communicate with the public. We found that while many agencies have better policies since 2008, there are still improvements to be made. Read More

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Freedom to Tweet: Grading Social Media Policies in the Federal Government

Social media can transform debates, inform discussions and, as we saw with the Arab spring, help spread democracy. And information and science have a key role to play in democracy (hence the new Center for Science and Democracy here at UCS). Scientists working for government agencies such as NASA, NOAA, the EPA, and the FDA have a lot to contribute to discussions about the science-based challenges we face. Unfortunately, agency policies combined with a culture of timidity are often constraining individual government scientists from jumping into social media. Read More

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Can Journalists and Bloggers Report on Science when Access to Federal Scientists is Still a Challenge?

You have likely heard that science journalism is in decline. No surprises there – one after another we have watched newspapers reduce the number of science beat reporters or announce the closing of their science desks altogether. We have also heard a great deal of debate over what the new on-line sources of information mean for how science is understood. Read More

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Fish and Wildlife Service Scientists Get Some Clarity on Communicating With the Press

In keeping with its commitment to improving its scientific integrity standards, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has updated its public communication and media policy—for the first time in two decades (to put that in perspective, that’s before the vast majority of us used the Internet). The policy is a marked improvement from the agency’s previous policy and succeeds by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of Service employees and public affairs officials in the communication of scientific information. But despite these improvements, the agency is not out of the woods quite yet. Read More

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On Scientific Integrity, NOAA Succeeds; Now, It’s Time for the White House to Lead

The scientific integrity policy released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration makes today a great day for science at the agency—but it also signals that the White House and Congress must do more to address bigger, government-wide scientific integrity challenges. Read More

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