ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2017) 50 SK1.1 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.50.SK1.1

Should we engage with the media?

Giles Yeo

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Why do so many people believe what clearly are, at least to us in academia, ‘alterative facts’? Ignorance and stupidity are answers that slip easily of the lips. If they only understood the science…why don’t they look at the evidence? However, it is easy to forget that while we are all experts in our own little patch of intellectual or technical real-estate, we all have ‘faith’ and believe in a multitude of things that we understand little about every single day. How many of us truly understand how the brakes in our car work, or what keeps planes in the air? Are you qualified to assess the primary climate change data? Yet we all drive, or fly, and (most of us anyway) believe that humans have and continue to play a major role in global warming. We trust that other experts are doing their job and getting things right, and as a result society functions. The problem is, how does one tell an actual expert from a fake in this ‘post-truth’ era? If you are a ‘doctor’ claiming that vaccines cause autism, surely you know what you are talking about? The only way to combat this degradation of the value of truth, is to be, as academics, passionate about the truth. I will argue that engaging the media should be part of our arsenal to tell the truth and call out untruths wherever possible. I will discuss how to avoid the inevitable pit-falls, and how best to get your message across accurately, effectively and succinctly.

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