Andy Revkin has the scoop on a letter from the IPCC (very misguided, to my mind) advising its scientists against having media contacts. An IPCC scientist, Edward R. Carr, also thinks this is a very bad idea.
More specifically, IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri wrote this to researchers:
I would also like to emphasize that enhanced media interest in the work of the IPCC would probably subject you to queries about your work and the IPCC. My sincere advice would be that you keep a distance from the media and should any questions be asked about the Working Group with which you are associated, please direct such media questions to the Co-chairs of your Working Group and for any questions regarding the IPCC to the secretariat of the IPCC.
What Pachauri’s letter should have said is the following:
I would also like to emphasize that enhanced media interest in the work of the IPCC would probably subject you to queries about your work and the IPCC. For this reason, the IPCC has developed a number of tip sheets, trainings, and other content to help scientists who may receive queries from the media. We also have several trained media consultants available at any time to answer your questions about the press, and to manage any journalistic contacts that you may have or help set up interviews. For more detail and to avail yourself of these resources, please see our new science in the media website….
This is a guest post by Darlene Cavalier, a writer and senior adviser at Discover Magazine. Darlene holds a Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and is a former Philadelphia 76ers cheerleader. She founded ScienceCheerleader.com and cofounded ScienceForCitizens.net to make it possible for lay people to contribute to science.
Prizes: This old idea is making a sweeping comeback and it is changing the way government, industry and foundations help revolutionize future discovery. It’s high time we offer prizes to motivate and galvanize the public to come up with creative, real-time solutions to major disasters, such as the BP oil spill.
Approximately one-and-a-half weeks ago, I received an email from Andrew Revkin (who writes the DotEarth blog at The New York Times) in which he challenged researchers and others to think creatively about substantive approaches to stanching the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“There’s a lot of talk about sweeping Grand Engineering Challenges this year. But one is unfolding in real-time in the Gulf. Waiting months for a relief well seems pretty in the box,” he wrote in the email (reprinted with Revkin’s permission), and reiterated in this blog post.
While it’s true that BP is accepting public suggestions about ideas to mitigate the oil spill, the process needs some tweaking. From the Deepwater Horizon Response website: “Once a formal suggestion has been filed, BP technical personnel will carefully evaluate each and every one for technical feasibility and proof of application. If the engineering group finds the suggestion feasible, the person submitting the suggestion will be contacted if and when their support is needed.”
BP technical personnel will evaluate the suggestions? Seems a little too cozy to me. Read More