Louise Lief

Science's Trust Problem

Trust, Media, & Democracy


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Science, like the media, seeks to reset relations with the public

A couple of statistics convey the challenge ahead for scientists as their work is doubted and their policy contributions marginalized. In 2011, two-thirds of Americans could not name a single living scientist. By 2018, 84 percent could not. Scientists’ decreasing visibility is but one of several warning lights flashing on the civic dashboard. A majority of those who vote or lean Republican believe colleges and universities are having a negative impact on the country.

Like the media, science suffers from a trust problem. Science’s institutional priorities have long focused on research and professional publication rather than engaging the public. It will need to make structural changes to create incentives for trust-building activities like transparency and engagement — and philanthropy can play a crucial role to encourage such changes.

Read more at Medium

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Louise Lief is an independent consultant to philanthropy, non-profits and media, helping mission-driven organizations design, execute and communicate program strategies to achieve their objectives with maximum impact.

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