I recently read a post by my friend and colleague in Nairobi, Susan Macmillan. She’s a brilliant science communicator at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and I really enjoyed reading her reflections in this blog post: “What We Talk About When We Talk About ‘Evidence-Based’ Advocacy Communications.”
In the piece, she explores the challenges of working as a science communicator in an organization that has a mission. ILRI, for example, has a mission to reduce world poverty. The quality of the science is important, but so is the difference it makes on the ground. She asks, “How do we stay true to scientific rigour while communicating scientific results in ways that help influence publics and create big impacts?”
She also discusses the importance of making an effort to listen to a diverse set of opinions and bring people who disagree with you to the table if progress is going to be made. She quotes journalist Tamar Haspel, who says, “When everyone in the room sees the world in the same way, progress is unlikely. It’s harder to believe people are greedy or duplicitous or anti-science when you sit down together with a beer and discover you both like fishing or Portugal or ‘Zoolander.’”
Check out her post—it’s worth the read!