Organizing Dialogue, Experience and Knowledge for Complex Problem-Solving

Rita J. King in Scientific American: "Technogenic Disasters: A Deadly New Normal for the Media"

July 6th, 2011

Rita J. King has a new article on Scientific American, "Technogenic Disasters: A Deadly New Normal for the Media". Here's an excerpt:
The role of the media is not to find and repeat two binary views, neither of which is very helpful except for understanding the outer limits of an otherwise extremely complex issue, but rather to investigate to find the truth through gathering and contextualizing as much data as possible. This is very much a lonely, boots-on-the-ground experience, and it’s a necessary precursor to aggregation and curating news. Without the initial fact-finding process, there’s nothing to aggregate.

Over time, as data is gathered and analyzed, it is the role of the media to spot anomalies in the pattern and to contextualize, against the framework of an ongoing exploration, the implications for the people who are affected by technogenic disasters. Sometimes a disruption in the pattern is obvious, like when an earthquake and flood lead to nuclear meltdown. But often, the long, slow, cumulative issues related to the by-products of technology aren’t so evident at first glance.

Understanding how technogenic disasters affect people in the short and long term requires patience and the development of simple, reliable community hubs where people input their own stories and data. Achieving this will also require greater emphasis on science communication, which is currently my main professional area of focus, so that complex ideas can be clearly communicated to the people impacted by them.
[Scientific American, "Technogenic Disasters: A Deadly New Normal for the Media," by Rita J. King]

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Categories: fukushima, indian point, nuclear reactor, scientific american, technogenic disaster

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