Monday, June 20, 2005

To embed self-criticism

What does the term "science journalist in-residence" mean? I believe it does not mean just a spokesperson or mouthpiece, and besides not a critic with a scathing attitude, either.

In the field of management the term "journalist in-residence" has long been used rather as a rhetoric to explain a particular task of an "in-house public relations specialist". Such an expert is now regarded much more as business professional and organizational person than he/she was once in the pioneer era of the PR field.

What I want to refer to here, however, is not such a rhetorical "journalist in-residence" but a "science journalist in-residence", staying at and observing on a particular R&D related institute, project or team, as a "quasi-organizational person". It might be rather similar to "artist in-residence", as which NASA first appointed Laurie Anderson, a multimedea artist, a few years ago.

I think a "science journalist in-residence" can help a researchers' society demonstrate "embedded self-criticism". If there is any serious problem, he/she will have it out with the researchers. Even if the problem is not be solved thoroughly, creating opportunities to communicate with researchers can be crucial to embedding self-criticism to R&D institutions. He/she can create particular information or stories as a result of a continuous process to interact with researchers. And a special ability should be needed to embed such a self-criticism in a deeper layer of the whole science communication process.

I believe the whole process of science communication, including such an internal process mentioned above, should focuse on much more than just outputs or outcomes demonstrated to the public.

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Blogger Tom said...

Very interesting, it's a pity this blog hasn't been updated more recently - I think you have some very important things to say about science communication in Japan.

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