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Oct 1, 2016

Science and the Media: The challenge of reporting science responsibly

The 2016 Lorne Trottier public science symposium series - McGill University, Montreal Science and the Media: The challenge of reporting science responsibly Monday, October 17, 2016, 5:30 pm Erica Johnson: Busting the Spin Cycle Julia Belluz: The Dr. Oz problem: How reporters should cover the peddlers of bad science Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 5:30 pm Joel Achenbach: "How to Survive the Age of Bad Information" Trevor Butterworth: "Facts, fiction, and science: where the lines become blurred" Moderator: Joe Schwarcz, Director, Office for Science and Society Location: Centre Mont Royal, 1000 Sherbrooke Street West (corner Mansfield). FREE admission; no reservations required. Symposium summary An apt description of our times may very well be “The Age of Anxiety.” There seems to be widespread worry about everything — from the food we eat to the way it is produced; the water we drink and the air we breathe; the plastics we use, the medications we take, and even the cosmetics we apply. Grappling with these issues requires an understanding and appropriate evaluation of the science that has led to these concerns. Unfortunately, this is where the problem lies, as the vast majority of the population has no access to primary scientific literature. And even if they did, scientific jargon is not easily palatable. It is therefore left to journalists to interpret the results of scientific studies in a responsible fashion and present them to the public. This is no simple task, since there is so much information out there — some definitely worthwhile, others not — but more often than not the reader is not able to assess the difference, and is therefore faced with a deluge of misinformation served up by a host of websites and bloggers, many with vested interests. This year’s Trottier Symposium, Science and the Media: The challenge of reporting science responsibly, features four prominent journalists, all of whom are highly skilled in communicating science to the public. Whether it may be through their regular newspaper columns, online pieces, or investigative reporting, these speakers will address the challenge of living in this “Age of Anxiety” and how they do so in a responsible fashion. Read more.

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