The Intersection

originally published May 23, 2007 by Sheril R. Kirshenbaum

That’s right, I said it.

Dare I broach the topic sans Chris? Is it fair to discuss Framing when he’s not here at The Intersection to reply? I think YES. Just be aware everything that follows is ‘according to Sheril’ and none of this necessarily reflects the opinions of our two favorite Framers. That said, I’ll forge on..

Unless you’ve fallen off the blogosphere since April, you’re likely familiar with the concept of Framing Science which Mooney and Nisbet recently published an article about in the journal Science. My perspective, although similar in many respects, has been influenced tremendously by experience. A reasonable amount of time in the Senate, years working with commercial fishermen, and a long stint on radio – all while continuing to maintain permanent residence in academia – have taught me a few things. Most notably:

1) It’s easy to take for granted that not everyone speaks the same language. Cultural and social norms change dramatically across landscapes. Concepts like climate change are NOT universally accepted and many critical science topics at the forefront of my world do not register as personally relevant to the majority.

2) It better be possible to explain complex concepts bullet-style in a one page memo. Decisions makers (and folks with jobs in general) have a lot to squeeze into their day. Brevity and clarity win every time.

3) Humor and fun in the right context (i.e. sporting a Thanksgiving turkey costume as a radio stunt) will often reach and influence scores more people to act (donate food in this case) than a well written essay on the subject. [Note: There are exceptions.]

i-7d107a2d78895c880bdaffa88f78286e-snl101.myers.richman.010704_small1.jpgThroughout day I will explain how these experiences have shaped my take on Framing Science. Later, I’ll use a tangible example from the world I know best – Marine Conservation.

For now, ‘I’m a little verklempt (okay, really I need to bike to work). Talk amongst yourselves. I’ll give you a topic. Framing Science is neither solely about the Frame nor the Science. Discuss. Post a comment, we’ll talk, no big whoop.’


  1. #1 Marilyn Walker
    August 27, 2008

    This made me giggle (the verklempt reference and photo of Mike Myers). Because I read you in RSS I’m commenting on this one after I commented on your latest Best Of … which I think is a great idea for a series and to keep the conversation rolling while Chris is away. Thanks!

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