The Trouble with Science

SAT, MAY 16, 2020 (00:00)

Dive into the promises and perils of communicating science to public audiences. While trust in our politicians and the press has waned in recent years, trust in scientists has remained remarkably steady. However, as we chart out new uncertainties and complex facts and figures in a pandemic, we wonder: is trust in science eroding? How are science journalists and educators dispelling misinformation and tempering fear? Why don’t facts go viral on social media? And, what resources and platforms can help marshal facts and good science?

Jane Hu, a regular contributor to Slate’s Future Tense , Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown, co-creators of the YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE , join Joan Donovan to discuss the role of science communication in helping the general public steer a safe course against pseudoscience and misinformation.

Image: Creative Commons

+ BIO: Joan Donovan

Dr. Joan Donovan is Director of the Technology and Social Change (TaSC) Research Project at the Shorenstein Center. Dr. Donovan leads the field in examining internet and technology studies, online extremism, media manipulation, and disinformation campaigns.

Dr. Donovan’s research and teaching interests are focused on media manipulation, effects of disinformation campaigns, and adversarial media movements.

Dr. Donovan’s research can be found in academic peer-reviewed journals such as Social Media + Society, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography (JCE), Information, Communication & Society, Social Studies of Science, and Online Information Review. Her contributions can also be found in the books, Data Science Landscape: Towards Research Standards and Protocols and Unlike Us Reader: Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives. Dr. Donovan’s research and expertise has been showcased in a wide array of media outlets including NPR, Washington Post, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, and more.

Prior to joining Harvard Kennedy School, Dr. Donovan was the Research Lead for Data & Society’s Media Manipulation Initiative, where she led a large team of researchers studying efforts to manipulate sociotechnical systems for political gain. She continues to hold an affiliate appointment with Data & Society.

Dr. Donovan received her Ph.D. in Sociology and Science Studies from the University of California San Diego, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics, where she studied white supremacists’ use of DNA ancestry tests, social movements, and technology.

Partner
Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
Series
Big, If True Series On Tech & The Pandemic