Freedman Intersects Science, Policy, and Communication in New Book, “Communicating Endangered Species”

Knight Center for Environmental Journalism Chair and Professor Eric Freedman acted as the lead editor of Communicating Endangered Species: Extinction, News, and Public Policy, and worked with chapter authors and coeditors to create this pivotal multidisciplinary environmental communication book. Intersecting science, policy, and communication, Freedman’s book highlights the important role of communication in individual and societal progress toward protecting endangered species.

“In the Knight Center, we focus on how to better report on the world’s most important environmental issues, and we saw a need for this type of work in the endangered species space,” Freedman said. “So we put a team together to connect how media and culture depict endangered species with how policymakers and natural resource managers can respond to endangered animal challenges.”

The international and multidisciplinary scope of endangered species challenges allowed Freedman to pull together expertise from a wide variety of contributors, with chapter authors ranging from social and natural scientists to wildlife biologists, to policymakers, and journalists. From their insights, Freedman and his colleagues, Professor Sara Shipley Hiles of the University of Missouri at Columbia and David B. Sachsman of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, crafted the book to give a wide range of readers practical takeaways, all while focusing on the critical communication component.

“Scientists and advocates’ communication efforts can’t just be directly toward policymakers, or solely toward individuals — both audiences can make an impact on environmental issues. So in this book, we work to give history and examples of effective communication to policymakers and to mainstream media outlets that have influence over individual viewpoints and actions.”

“The most exciting part of the book is its takeaways that can be applied to many environmental issues,” Freedman said. “Communicating information and urgency to policymakers and the public is vitally important across the board, whether it’s environmental justice, pollution, natural resource protection, or climate change. And we hope this book can contribute to those fields.”

Communicating Endangered Species will be available on August 5 and can be found in hardcover or as an e-book on the Routledge website. Freedman is a Professor of Journalism and former Associate Dean of International Studies and Programs, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Learn more about his work and the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism.

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