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Promoting objective science in a polarised world

19 June 2024 at 4:00:00 am

T18 Talk

15 min


The threat to coral reefs from climate change has placed marine ecosystems at the forefront of the so called “climate wars”. As the nation’s tropical marine science agency, AIMS operates in a communication landscape charged with emotion and polarisation. The Great Barrier Reef has unfortunately become a symbol of the dire effects of climate change. Discussion about its health unleashes political agendas and misinformation. In this turbulent sea of fact and opinion, misinformation presents a threat, creating public uncertainty, undermining trust in science institutions and posing new challenges for communicators. The presentation of clear, objective communication is crucial for balanced news reporting and improving public understanding. Drawing from our experience in releasing a pivotal report on the Reef's coral condition, we unveil the key elements of AIMS' award-winning communication approach and highlight guidelines for promoting science in a contested information environment.


Mr John Liston

Relevance to conference themes

Elevating professional practice: the case study being discussed won the gold level in the small budget category at the 2023 Golden Target Awards for excellence in communication (awarded by the Public Relations Institute of Australia).
Building trust in science: communication through the news media, tackling detractors; encouraging balanced reporting; making information accessible
Communicating science objectively to inform decision making for reef users, managers and protectors

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