The 2020 FPA Public Commentary Excellence Award winner is Josh Greenberg, director of the School of Journalism and Communication and program head of Communication and Media Studies. As a researcher, Greenberg has an international reputation as a trustworthy source of evidence-grounded analysis into how we communicate about public health risks. As a university leader, he has created opportunities for other faculty members and students to engage and refine their skills in public commentary.

“The Faculty of Public Affairs has a strong history of public discourse,” says Dean Brenda O’Neill. “The award was established in 2014 to recognize the significant contributions of faculty members who share research and expertise in the media and ignite and elevate public discussion to further our understanding of current events.” 

“I want to acknowledge the strong support system in the Dean’s Office,” said Greenberg at the FPA Excellence Awards ceremony in June 2020. “Thank you for your commitment to promoting publicly engaged scholarship, supporting us in starting new projects and encouraging us to think broadly and creatively about how best to communicate the results of our work.”

Greenberg is one of Canada’s foremost academics and public commentators on crisis communication and risk management. He already had a long history of public dialogue across a wide range of media and genres before the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year.

Since then, he has been in high demand to offer expert advice to public health agencies and departments in Canada and around the world, and to share that expertise with news media covering the pandemic. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, Toronto Star, the CBC and Global News, where he discussed the problems with the “war metaphor” for addressing our most urgent social problems.

In his essay, Popular Literature in the Age of Pandemic Threat, published in March 2020, Greenberg discussed living in an era of pandemics, economic and social unrest and turning to literature as a source of social memory in times of crisis. That piece crystallizes the ethic that guides Greenberg’s many and varied interventions: the belief that policy-making should be informed by rigorous independent research, broad-based democratic deliberation and human compassion.

Greenberg uses Twitter (he has more than 5,200 followers) to comment on current issues in public health, policy debates and political events, and established a Twitter account for Communication and Media Studies to promote the achievements of students and faculty. He is also a frequent contributor to Policy Options.

“There’s a very strong system at Carleton that enables different forms of communication between faculty members in FPA and people outside the university,” says Greenberg. “We all write to be read by our peers. Many of us also write to be read by others outside the university.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 in ,
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