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. Donovan is a leading public scholar and disinformation researcher, specializing in media manipulation, political movements, critical internet studies, and online extremism. She is the Research Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and the Director of the Technology and Social Change project (TaSC). Through TaSC, Dr. Donovan explores how media manipulation is a means to control public conversation, derail democracy, and disrupt society. TaSC conducts research, develops methods, and facilitates workshops for journalists, policy makers, technologists, and civil society organizations on how to detect, document, and debunk media manipulation campaigns.

Dr. Donovan is co-founder of Harvard Kennedy School’s Misinformation Review. Her research can be found in academic peer-reviewed journals such as Social Media + Society, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Information, Communication & Society, and Social Studies of Science. She is a columnist at MIT Technology Review, a regular contributor to the New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, and PBS, and is quoted often on radio and in print.

Dr. Donovan has laid out the philosophical frameworks for how to research, report on, and understand this moment in internet history and American politics. Her conceptualizations of strategic silence, meme wars, and media manipulation campaigns provide crucial frameworks for understanding how the US got to this point. She coined many of the terms that the disinformation research field and mainstream media use to understand technology’s impact on society.

Dr. Donovan is the co-creator of the beaver emoji.

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