Talking with Inquiring Minds' Indre Viskontas about Disasters, Climate Change, Journalism, and the Future of Science Communication

I was thrilled to be the guest this week on the Inquiring Minds podcast with Indre Viskontas and Kishore Hari.

It's a production of Climate Desk, the groundbreaking climate-reporting collaborative backed by The Atlantic, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Grist, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Slate, and Wired. Previous guests have included folks like Steven Pinker, William Gibson, Adam Savage, Mary Roach, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Mark Ruffalo, and Sylvia Earle.

Indre asked me about all my favorite questions:

  • How disasters (both natural and technological) shape public understanding of, and attitudes toward, science and technology, and why climate change is a slowly unfolding disaster story
  • What journalists can do to combat "climate story fatigue"
  • How to have civil, fact-driven discussions about hot-button science & policy issues like global warming, vaccination, GMOs, and robotics and automation
  • How technology is making it easier for both journalists and non-journalists to experiment with new ways of telling science stories
  • How that very fact is giving rise to an explosion of new stories and channels, and how readers can sift through it all for reliable information
  • How places like Cambridge/Boston and San Francisco/Silicon Valley become hubs of research and innovation 
  • How we'll address some of the issues above, and others like the growing pains in science blogging, at the upcoming ScienceWriters2015 meeting at MIT in October.

Indre is a great interviewer, and it was enormously fun to speak with her. I'd like to say thanks to her, Kishore, their producer Adam Isaak, and all the folks at Climate Desk.

At the top of the podcast, there's a fun conversation between Indre and Kishore about the American Psychological Association's involvement in Bush-era torture policies, and 3D printing technology for food. Indre's interview with me starts at 15:10.

I'm bracing for the angry mail and comments about my Chipotle remark. Also, a correction: At 36:19 I say that "I got to be the one coordinating" digital media training for the Knight Fellows during my year as acting director at Knight Science Journalism at MIT. That was a misleading way to put it. I was directing and managing the fellowship program, but the training workshops were organized and in some cases taught by the program's digital media training coordinator, Patrick Wellever (who left MIT in May to take a great job at National Geographic). 

Listen here:


Wade Roush

10 Museum Way, Cambridge, MA, 02141, United States

Science and technology journalist based in San Francisco.