April 23-24, 2012

Madison, WI

“Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.” -Thomas Huxley


    • Sunday, April 22, 2012

      Evening Reception

      7 – 9 pm • Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
      Join us for a kickoff reception recognizing 25 years of University of Wisconsin-Madison science writers in residence. Hosted by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.
    • Monday, April 23, 2012

      All-Day Conference

      Location: H.F. DeLuca Forum, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

      8 am – 8:30 am • Welcome and Introduction
      Deborah Blum, University of Wisconsin, Madison
      Chancellor David Ward, University of Wisconsin–Madison
      Carl Gulbrandsen, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
      David Krakauer, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
      8:30 am – 10 am • Session I
      Keynote: Arthur Lupia, University of Michigan • Communicating Science in Politicized Environments

      Panel: John Hawks, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Wilson da Silva, COSMOS; Robert Lee Hotz, The Wall Street Journal

      10am – 10:15am • Break
      10:15am – 11:45 am • Session II
      Keynote: Sean B. Carroll • The Denial of Evolution, and the Evolution of Denial: We Have All Been Here Before

      Panel: Robin Marantz Henig, New York Times Magazine; Dan Fagin, New York University; Cristine Russell, Harvard University

      11:45am – 1:15pm • Lunch
      1:15pm – 2:45pm • Session III
      Keynote: Gary Schwitzer, University of Minnesota • Cheerleading, Shibboleths and Uncertainty

      Panel: Ivan Oransky, Reuters Health; Nancy Shute, National Public Radio; Tom Siegfried, Science News

      2:45pm – 3pm • Break
      3pm – 4:30pm • Session IV
      Keynote: Naomi Oreskes, University of California, San Diego • Neoliberalism and the Denial of Global Warming

      Panel: Bill Blakemore, ABC News; Nancy Langston, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Steve Ackerman, University of Wisconsin-Madison

      4:30pm – 5pm • Wrap Up
      5:30 – 7:30 pm • Monday Reception
      Alumni Lounge, Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St.

      Light food and drinks for conference registrants and guests, hosted by UW Health and University Communications.

    • Tuesday, April 24, 2012


      Understanding organized denial and human psychology is only half the battle.
      A part-day series of workshops on Tuesday, Apr. 24, 2012, will focus on applying insights gleaned from the plenary session toward improving the reach, integrity, and impact of science writing.

      Location: Varsity Hall—East or West— Union South, University of Wisconsin-Madison

      8am – 8:15am • Welcome
      8:15 am – 9:45 am • Concurrent Session I
      EastAnswering the questions, questioning the answers
      Mouse-over workshop titles for descriptions

      Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
      Trudy Lieberman, Columbia Journalism Review
      Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press
      Chris Mooney, freelance

      West • Journalistic ethics in an age of denial

      Deborah Blum, UW-Madison
      George Johnson, freelance
      Dennis Meredith, independent communicator
      Dan Fagin, New York University

      9:45 am – 10:00 am • Coffee Break
      10:00 am – 11:30 am • Concurrent Session II
      East• Fairness without false balance

      Sharon Dunwoody, UW-Madison
      Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post
      Ivan Oransky, Reuters Health, Embargo Watch, Retraction Watch
      Tom Yulsman, University of Colorado-Boulder

      West • Working within the psychology of belief

      Bill Blakemore, ABC News
      Peter Ditto, University of California, Irvine
      Ron Numbers, UW-Madison
      John Rennie, freelance

      11:30 am – 12:15 pm • Lunch
      Box lunches available outside meeting rooms.
      12:15 pm – 1:45 pm • Concurrent Session III
      East• Persuasive writing in a world of denial

      Christie Aschwanden, freelance
      Wilson da Silva, Cosmos
      Richard Harris, NPR
      Dietram Scheufele, UW-Madison
      Steve Silberman, freelance

      West• Covering controversy in a changing media landscape

      Dominique Brossard, UW-Madison
      Michael Lemonick, Climate Central
      Maryn McKenna, freelance
      Michelle Nijhuis, freelance