Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: August 17, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959216 | Print ISBN: 9781412959209 | Online ISBN: 9781412959216| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Scientists' Institute for Public Information
Alan H. McGowan
March 28, 1979, marked an important turning point in the development of relationships between scientists and journalists. On that day, the United States suffered its most serious nuclear accident at the Three Mile Island facility. In the end it was determined that no release of radiation to the public occurred, but in the early days of the event, the public, the government, and the media were all frightened and basically did not know where to turn. This event made scientists realize that the media were going to write about science and science- and technology-related events anyway, whether the scientists cooperated with the journalists or not, and everyone, including the scientists, was much better off if the cooperation occurred. As a result of 84 news organizations calling the Scientists' Institute for Public Information (SIPI) looking for sources of information who could tell them what was going on at Three Mile Island ...