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Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter

Handbook / Manual

By: Nancy Baron(Author), Donald Kennedy(Foreword By)

246 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables

Island Press

Paperback | Sep 2010 | #197265 | ISBN-13: 9781597266642
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £16.99 $22/€19 approx
Hardback | Dec 2010 | #197264 | ISBN-13: 9781597266635
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £32.99 $43/€37 approx

About this book

Most scientists and researchers aren't prepared to talk to the press or to policymakers – or to deal with backlash. Many researchers have the horror stories to prove it. What's clear, according to Nancy Baron, is that scientists, journalists and public policymakers come from different cultures. They follow different sets of rules, pursue different goals, and speak their own language. To effectively reach journalists and public officials, scientists need to learn new skills and rules of engagement. No matter what your specialty, the keys to success are clear thinking, knowing what you want to say, understanding your audience, and using everyday language to get your main points across.

In this practical and entertaining guide to communicating science, Baron explains how to engage your audience and explain why a particular finding matters. She explores how to ace your interview, promote a paper, enter the political fray, and use new media to connect with your audience. Escape from the Ivory Tower includes advice from journalists, decision makers, new media experts, bloggers and some of the thousands of scientists who have participated in her communication workshops. Many of the researchers she has worked with have gone on to become well-known spokespeople for science-related issues. Baron and her prot#g#es describe the risks and rewards of "speaking up", how to deal with criticism, and the link between communications and leadership. The final chapter, "Leading the Way" offers guidance to scientists who want to become agents of change and make your science matter. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned veteran looking to hone your skills, Escape from the Ivory Tower can help make your science understood, appreciated and perhaps acted upon.

"[Readers will] be grateful for the investment when they can pull [...] [the] book off the shelf in times of need. Aspiring journalists and public information officers will also find valuable insights into scientific culture and the way their own work is perceived [...] Escape From the Ivory Tower should be embraced by a broad scientific audience; it's impossible to predict when [...] you may be jolted out of your comfort zone and forced to convince the world that your data matter."
- American Scientist

"In the world of science we sometimes forget that a book can be an easy, pleasant read and still teach us quite a bit. Nancy Baron knows that, and she has delivered that book. The result is unlike anything you've read before-and it is something you need to begin reading now. This is not a book for your bookshelf. It is a book for your backpack, your briefcase, your graduate students, and the trunk of your car [...] This is a book to be read, enjoyed, and dogeared- assuming, of course, you want your science to matter."
- BioScience

"Overall, this book is valuable and a worthwhile read for marine scientists. Almost all of us can improve our outreach efforts [...] Escape From the Ivory Tower has helpful hints for all of us interested in various levels of outreach."
- Oceanography


Foreword: Donald Kennedy

Part I The Scientist Communicator
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. The Decision to Speak Out

Part II A Clash of Cultures
Chapter 3. What You Need to Know about Journalists
Chapter 4. Tell Me a Story: What Journalists Want from You
Chapter 5. The Changing World of the Media
Chapter 6. What You Need to Know about Policymakers
Chapter 7. Inform My Decision: What Policymakers Want from You

Part III The How-To Toolkit
Chapter 8. Deliver a Clear Message
Chapter 9. Ace Your Interview
Chapter 10. Fine-Tune for Radio and Television
Chapter 11. Reach out Instead of Waiting
Chapter 12. Promote a Paper
Chapter 13. Enter the Political Fray

Part IV Becoming an Agent of Change
Chapter 14. After the Splash, the Backlash
Chapter 15. Leading the Way: Nine Steps to Success


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A former journalist, Nancy Baron is a motivated promoter for clearly communicating the public implications of scientific findings. She has spent most of the past eight years training scientists to better communicate science to the media and the public. During this time she has worked with more 4000 scientists and many journalists and NGO professionals. Escape from the Ivory Tower is a direct result of her experience.

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