[Coral-List] Some thoughts on how to tell the bleaching story

Ellen Prager pragere at earthlink.net
Wed Jan 7 10:26:52 EST 2015

Dear Steven and Peter

Good points from both of you. In addition to the need to get the story out in a way that engages a broader audience, we also need to find new and effective vehicles to do it. I also agree wholeheartedly that we need to be better storytellers - thus my new middle grade fiction series highlighting ocean issues and the many speaking engagements I've been doing focused on ocean science and storytelling.

But how do we reach the uninformed or uncaring public? I work with the news media and they are not interested unless it is timely "news", related to an observable crisis, disaster or of course, celebrity scandal, wedding or baby (Ugh!).

In addition to the right and effective vehicles to reach a broader audience, I suggest we also need to focus more on relevance. How is coral reef decline related to the every day person's quality of life, health, job….what the average person can relate to. I wish more people related to the importance of coral reefs or oceans for that matter, but a large percentage of the population does not.

I have a blog coming out soon (I hope) about the connections between the ocean, coral reefs, and fighting disease.

Thanks to both of you for bringing up the communications issue. I am with you!


Dr. Ellen Prager
Earth2Ocean, Inc

On Jan 7, 2015, at 8:26 AM, Steven Miller <smiller52 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Peter
> Have you read Connection: Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical 
> Thinking? It's Randy's second book and it provides a framework for how 
> to communicate that was missing in his first book.
> If you want to tell the coral reef story, then you need to change HOW 
> you communicate, not WHAT you communicate.
> In science, we tell our stories with way too many ANDS.
> And then I did this, and then I did that, and here's Figure 1, and 
> Figure 2, and Figure 3, and Tables 1-10, and this is why they are 
> important, and we ran these tests, and we need more funding.
> We need to get out of our "heads" to connect with the guts and hearts of 
> the public.  One way to do this is to change HOW we tell our stories.
> Coral reefs are in trouble, AND there's no doubt that it's getting 
> worse, BUT not all is loss because amazing places still exist, THEREFORE 
> read Randy's books to learn how to communicate more effectively before 
> it's too late.
> And, But, Therefore.
> It's that simple.  And that hard at the same time.  There's even an App 
> to help.
> And frankly, Randy doesn't need to discover anything.  Coral reef 
> colleagues need to discover Randy Olson.
> Best regards
> Steven Miller
> Nova Southeastern University
> Oceanographic Center
> On 1/6/2015 4:29 PM, Peter Sale wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> For want of a better way to welcome the new year, I spent some time
>> thinking about how we can tell the story of coral bleaching more
>> effectively than we have been.  I fear our message is becoming "old news"
>> and is not resonating with enough people.  My thoughts on this are at
>> http://www.petersalebooks.com/?p=1823
>> I encourage others to work on building better stories too.  Its time for
>> Randy Olson to discover that his 'coral reef colleagues' are capable of
>> telling an important story effectively.
>> Best to all for 2015.
>> Peter Sale
>> sale at uwindsor.ca                 @PeterSale3
>> www.uwindsor.ca/sale           www.petersalebooks.com
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> -- 
> http://www.nova.edu/ocean/overview/faculty-staff-profiles/steven_miller.html
> http://www.nova.edu/ocean/research/labs/miller.html
> http://www.marinefrontiers-llc.com
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