FREE WEBINAR: Science communication and the COVID-19 crisis

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Tuesday, 26 May 2020 via a Zoom Webinar: 2-3pm London, UK time.

COVID-19 presents one of the largest science communication challenges ever, with rapidly evolving science, enormous social and economic impacts and a rising global death toll.

PCST members and those who registered for the PCST2020 conference are invited to participate in this webinar, which will be chaired by PCST President, Brian Trench.

Professor Matt Nisbet, Professor of Communication at Northeastern University, Boston, MA will discuss how decades long differences in the framing of pandemic responses are playing out in the U.S. and international debate over how to “flatten the curve” on Covid-19 cases. These duelling interpretations pit prominent voices like Bill Gates who focus almost exclusively on techno-science solutions such as vaccine or drug development against others like U.S. journalist Laurie Garett who emphasize the need for greater investments in local, national, and international public health systems. Nisbet is past editor-in-chief of the journal Environmental Communication, a monthly columnist at Issues in Science and Technology, and writes regularly at his blog www.wealthofideas.org.

Dr Marina Joubert from South Africa’s Stellenbosch University will discuss how it is not uncommon during a health crisis for individual scientists to acquire scientific celebrity status. During COVID-19, Anthony Fauci is the media star in the USA. In Italy, it is Roberto Burioni. In the UK, Neil Ferguson and Chris Whitty became prominent voices, while Australians turn to medical-doctor-turned-broadcaster Norman Swan. Marina will reflect on the remarkable surge in public prominence of Aids researcher Salim Abdool Karim, and explore how and why he became the most popular and trusted ‘face of science’ in South Africa.

Four other members of our PCST community will briefly discuss their own country’s perspectives about COVID-19 and science communication:

Professor Dominique Brossard, Chair in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will discuss collaboration between academics and practitioners in communicating about COVID-19.

Professor Massimiano Bucchi from the University of Trento will discuss surveys of the two waves of public perception and attitudes to Covid-19 in Italy, with some notes on international comparison and the network they are building with other colleagues.

Dr Anwesha Chakraborty, is based at the University of Bologna in Italy but also following how things are going back in India. She will discuss the overwhelming volume of data available (TV channels, online newspapers, social media) and the abundance of scientific, unscientific and pseudo-scientific information.

Barbara Gormley is currently completing her PhD at Dublin City University on risk communication models during pandemics. She will talk about how scientists are significantly changing their communication during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We invite members of the PCST Network and / or registrants for PCST2020 (postponed to 2021) to participate in this special and free Zoom webinar about science communication and the Covid-19 crisis.

Please note: You will receive a ticket for this event, but your registration will be confirmed on a separate email and login and password information sent the day before the event.

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