Sunday, February 17, 2008

Apr 18 Framing Science: Conflict & Consensus in Public Communication

Friday, April 18, 1 - 3 pm (arrive by 12:45 pm)
Public & Free
Easy Prior Registration Extended to April 17 (*)

Matthew Nisbet, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of Communication,
American University

National Science Foundation, Room 375 (*)
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA


Over the coming decades, as society faces major collective choices on issues such as climate change, biomedical research, and nanotechnology, scientists and their organizations will need to work together with the public to formulate effective policies and to resolve disputes. A major challenge for scientists will be to craft communication efforts that are sensitive to how diverse audiences process messages, but also to the way science is portrayed across types of media. In these efforts, scientists should adopt a language that emphasizes shared values and has broad appeal, avoiding the pitfall of seeming to condescend to fellow citizens or alienating them by attacking their beliefs. Part of this process includes "framing" an issue in ways that remain true to the science but that make the issue more personally meaningful, thereby potentially sparking greater interest or acceptance.

Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at American University. As a social scientist he studies the nature and impacts of strategic communication in policy debates. His current work focuses on scientific and environmental controversies, examining the interactions between experts, journalists, and various publics. In this research, Nisbet examines how news coverage reflects and shapes policy, how strategists try to mold public opinion, and how citizens make sense of controversies.

NSF is one block south of the Ballston-Marymount University metro stop on the Orange Line. For most drivers, Route 66 to Fairfax Dr. to Stuart Dr is the easiest route. Parking is available in the Ballston Common mall, in the NSF building, and at other area parking lots and garages. Metered parking is also available on the surrounding streets.

(*) Easy Prior Registration For This Event
Non-NSF employees must register in advance for a guest badge for this event. By April 17, send an email to (or call 301 587-3827) giving the first and last name of each attendee and optionally their organizational affiliation for their guest badge. We will try to accommodate walk-in registration arriving before 12:45 pm but we will need to give priority to those with prior registrations arriving by 12:45 pm.

Enter the NSF building at the corner of 9th St. N and N Stuart Streets by 12:45 pm and show a photo ID to pickup your guest badge; then proceed past security to Room 375 for seating by 1 pm.