share

MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World

Community Profiles

Maria Arévalo KSJ Fellow

 

"If a journalist doesn’t understand the science of climate change how can they effectively inform the public about the issues?"

Maria Catalina Arévalo Martinez
Knight Science Journalism Fellow '13-14


Catalina Arévalo works as an environmental correspondent for the leading Spanish-language news agency EFE, primarily covering climate change, energy, biodiversity, and sustainable development. While at MIT, Arévalo is focusing her research on the relationship between biodiversity and human health, and how the conservation of species and their ecosystems is vital for biomedical research and human health in general. She is also investigating why journalists, policy makers, and scientists fail in communicating these important issues to the public.

What drew you to the KSJ Program versus others?
The KSJ program is known worldwide for being the best program for this specialization. Apart from its reputation, I knew it was a great program because I have friends who are former KSJ Fellows, so being here is actually a dream come true.

How has your proximity to MIT researchers aided your work?
Having the opportunity to talk with MIT researchers without being rushed will definitely improve the quality of my articles. My interactions with scientists helps me to better understand the topics I’m covering, so I’m sure I’ll be able to better communicate them to my audience.

What impedes the public’s engagement with science?
It’s a combination of failures by journalists, policy makers, and scientists. There’s a scarcity of trained science journalists, especially in Latin American and developing countries. If a journalist doesn’t understand the science of climate change how can they effectively inform the public about the issues? There’s also a lack of communication skills on the scientists’ side – they don’t know how to effectively communicate their work to the public.

What role do programs like the KSJ Program play in keeping the public informed?
They’re extremely critical and important. I am sure that after being in this terrific program, the quality of our stories will improve dramatically.