published: February 9, 2011
Same Same but Different
Doing the same thing does not mean that it is done the same way. This is what Thomas Kropf often experiences. He is a distinguished expert in communications and very well knows when two parties get their wires crossed.
Especially concerning transdisciplinary communication, that is the dialogue between experts and stakeholders, Thomas Kropf observes need for improvement - for example by media training for scientists.
Franziska Humair (fh) - The publication of research results is fundamental in a scientific career, so researchers know how to write articles. Why do you think it is nevertheless important to organize media training for researchers?
Thomas Kropf (tk) - Yes, scientists know how to write scientific texts, but scientific texts aren't journalistic texts. If a scientist wishes to 'popularize' the results of his - or her - research, it might be useful to know the mechanisms of journalistic texts too.
fh – Sometimes, scientists are not happy with media coverage, because they have the feeling the journalist did not get it right when reporting on the topic in question. How can scientists prepare for an interview, in order to be understood correctly and to get the right coverage?
tk - I think the best way to get prepared for an interview is to ask yourself: what could be interesting for a wider audience? And how could I explain what I do to that audience? Don't forget: you’re not speaking to colleagues but to people like your aunt or your uncle.
fh - What scientific topics are too complex to be covered by the media?
tk - Well, I hope there is not a single subject you can't talk about! You will certainly not be able to explain your subject in every detail, but that's not necessary. Think of your uncle and your aunt!
fh - Sex sells, but science isn't sexy, isn't it?
tk - Are you sure? Perhaps the question is: how can you talk about science so that it looks interesting - or 'sexy', if you want. If your subject fascinates you, you'll certainly find a way to share some of this fascination with me!