Climate Communication: How Researchers Navigate between Scientific Truth and Media Publics

Climate Communication: How Researchers Navigate between Scientific Truth and Media Publics

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  • December 19, 2022
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Recent attacks on scientific authority have intensified calls for climate scientists to seek out a more active stake in public engagement. Yet, today’s media landscape presents scientists with the challenge of gaining the epistemic trust of diverse audiences. This article qualitatively investigates how publicly engaged academic climate researchers imagine the public as they partake in various science communication practices. It finds that scientists’ strategies for securing public trust in their epistemic authority and defining their own public role vary with the media public they are addressing. Their communications reflect an oscillation between filling a “knowledge deficit” and communicating complex “truth tensions.”

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