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February 6, 2014
Scientists Need to be PR Specialists Too?
 
Digging into the mysteries of the universe, or the human body, are U.S. scientists going to have to become public relations practitioners as well? The question arises from Dr. Ethan O. Perlstein's effort to raise $1.5 million in "crowdsourced" funds to finance his laboratory, as reported in a Wall Street Journal story. Dr. Perlstein is about to start plugging himself on AngelList. Well and good, you say? How about when scientists start plugging themselves on YouTube, as Dr. Perlstein has been doing? Is that how we want our research to originate? This situation, The Journal reports, is exacerbated by "by cuts in federal research funding." 

Maybe there's always been a defacto element of PR in how scientists become known in official circles, like the National Institutes of Health. But is sending them out to YouTube a healthy development?

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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