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Getting It Right in the Coming Communications Twilight Zone

Rowe, Sylvia MA; Alexander, Nick BA

doi: 10.1097/01.NT.0000303349.98476.e4
Nutrition and Communications

The article examines the rapid evolution of technologies that affect consumer understanding of nutrition science, both by accelerating the pace of research itself and by permitting miscommunication. Examples offered are the over dramatization of new research findings and the rapid dissemination of scientifically unvetted interpretations or misinterpretations of research. The article also discusses the paradigm changes in science communications from traditional "closed" models to systems more akin to a "Wikipedia model," where Internet surfers themselves become the experts. The authors speculate that a new kind of scientific review process may emerge, posing as yet unforeseen communication challenges to the scientific community.

How to navigate new media channels like blogs and the Internet in nutrition

Sylvia Rowe, MA, is an adjunct professor at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is also the president of SR Strategy, a health, nutrition, food safety, and risk communications and issue management consultancy located at Washington, DC. Previously, Ms Rowe served as president and chief executive officer of the IFIC and IFIC Foundation, nonprofit organizations that communicate science-based information of food safety and nutrition issues to health professionals, journalists, government officials, educators, and consumers.

Nick Alexander, BA, is former senior media counselor for the International Food Information Council Foundation, Washington, DC. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University. A former network correspondent with ABC News, Mr Alexander has been, for the past 7½ years, tracking and writing about science communications issues and the evolving challenge to public acceptance of credible science.

Corresponding author: Sylvia Rowe, MA, 1100 Connecticut Ave. NW, #1000, Washington, DC 20036 (rowe@srstrategy.com).

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.