I'm an Instructor at Harvard, a consultant in risk perception and risk communication, author of How Risky Is it, Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts, and principal co-author of RISK, A Practical Guide for Deciding What's Really Safe and What's Really Dangerous in the World Around You. I run a program called Improving Media Coverage of Risk. I was the Director of Risk Communication at the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, part of the Harvard School of Public Health, for 4 years, prior to which I was a TV reporter, specializing in environmental issues, for a local station in Boston for 22 years.
GMO opponents hope labels will scare customers away and kill the technology. New evidence suggests that labels are more likely to encourage sales than reduce them.
Harsh criticism of Chipotle's marketing ploy to eliminate some genetically modified ingredients is part of a growing movement to stand up to advocates on many issues who promote fear that flies in the face of the...
News coverage of risk that plays up how scary things sound and plays down or leaves out anything that moderates the fear does real and serious harm.
How a liberal community recently voted for reason over emotion and values-based decision-making on two hot-button environmental issues.
Recent reports about radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in ocean water off Canada reported the risk responsibly. At low doses, the risk is infinitesimal. More news coverage of radiation needs to say so.
We instinctively feel safer about anything natural and more worried by anything human-made, but instincts may not lead to choices that do human or environmental health the most good.
The massive damage humans have done to the natural world has provoked a backlash that could be just as dangerous, or more. There is a growing global rejection of technology and almost anything human-made in...
Two recent examples from The New York Times, one from a columnist and one in an editorial, illustrate the danger of news media coverage of risk that is alarmist, incomplete, and inaccurate.