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Applying the New Rules to Today’s Nutrition Science Communications

Rowe, Sylvia MA; Alexander, Nick BA

doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e31828a519c
Nutrition Communications

Noting that in today’s rapidly evolving multimedia world, the challenges facing nutrition communicators are huge and escalating, the authors seek to apply to a number of current messages new media communication guidelines. They argue that new era nutrition communications:

* Must be in the everyday vernacular;

* Must compete with multiple “new media” voices to be heard above the din;

* Must be transparent (preferably allowing for feedback from audiences); and

* Must deliver a “gist” or bottom-line message, preferably repeated frequently.

Analyzing message examples from professional societies, consumer groups, and government, this article offers suggestions on how existing scientific communications could be enhanced for improved public understanding.

Sylvia Rowe, MA, is an adjunct professor at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Boston, Massachusetts, 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 in Washington, DC. Previously, Ms Rowe served as president and chief executive officer of the International Food Information Council (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 IFIC Foundation, Washington, DC. He holds a bachelor’s of arts degree from Harvard University. A former network correspondent with ABC News, he has been tracking and writing about science communications issues and the evolving challenge to public acceptance of credible science for the past decade.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Sylvia Rowe, MA, 1100 Connecticut Ave NW, #1000, Washington, DC 20036 (

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.