Scientists as Advocates, Activists,
    and News Media Briefers
             Hans M. Kristensen
       Federation of Ameri...
Background

•  From Activist to “Expert”
    –  Greenpeace (1981-1995)
    –  Nautilus Institute (1996-2002)
    –  Natura...
Background

•  Examples of Work: Expansion of US nuclear doctrine
   –  From “nuclear” to “WMD” (1995-2000)
   –  Doctrine...
Background

•  Examples of Work: Chinese nuclear forces
   –    Nuclear Notebook (2001-)
   –    FAS/NRDC report (2006)
  ...
Advice For Scientists

…on working as advocates and activists:

  Key functions:
   –  Add substance and authority to deba...
Advice For Scientists

…on speaking efficiently to the press:

   Scientists advising news media more important than ever
...
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Science Policy and Nuclear Proliferation

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Hans Kristensen, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Nuclear Information Project, discusses the role of scientists and advocacy groups in promoting the facts and fact-based decision making as it pertains to nuclear weapons around the globe.

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Science Policy and Nuclear Proliferation

  1. 1. Scientists as Advocates, Activists, and News Media Briefers Hans M. Kristensen Federation of American Scientists hkristensen@fas.org 202-454-4695 Presentation to Virtual Intern and Fellows Program, Scientists and Engineers for America October 13, 2009
  2. 2. Background •  From Activist to “Expert” –  Greenpeace (1981-1995) –  Nautilus Institute (1996-2002) –  Natural Resources Defense Council (2003-2005) •  Federation of American Scientists (2005-) –  Director, Nuclear Information Project: public education project on status of nuclear forces and operations –  Author: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, SIPRI Yearbook, reports, articles –  Researcher: Freedom of Information Act Hans M. Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists, October 13, 2009 Slide 2
  3. 3. Background •  Examples of Work: Expansion of US nuclear doctrine –  From “nuclear” to “WMD” (1995-2000) –  Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations (2001-2005) –  Regional strike plans (2006-2009) Hans M. Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists, October 13, 2009 Slide 3
  4. 4. Background •  Examples of Work: Chinese nuclear forces –  Nuclear Notebook (2001-) –  FAS/NRDC report (2006) –  New submarine (2007) –  Submarine patrols Hans M. Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists, October 13, 2009 Slide 4
  5. 5. Advice For Scientists …on working as advocates and activists: Key functions: –  Add substance and authority to debate versus just opinions –  Verify/check/challenge validity of information used in debate –  If you don’t believe in it, don’t do it –  Pursue your issue; find you niche –  Always challenge assumptions, most importantly your own –  Be passionate but don’t preach –  Don’t demonize; respect and learn from “the other side” –  Remember: Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence Hans M. Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists, October 13, 2009 Slide 5
  6. 6. Advice For Scientists …on speaking efficiently to the press: Scientists advising news media more important than ever –  Media pressure on journalists to produce more stories; fewer “deep” journalists with institutional and factual knowledge –  Fast flux of Internet means less time on research and more time chasing stories; unsubstantiated rumors and errors proliferate with light-speed –  Simplify but don’t simplify –  Build up service-relationship with issue reporters; they’ll call back –  Don’t overload; make sure you’ve got the news –  Let the material speak for itself; don’t overdo/oversell –  Say “I don’t know” if you don’t know; honesty builds trust Hans M. Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists, October 13, 2009 Slide 6
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