I'm a Community Liaison at CEA (

I got interested in EA via GiveWell when it started and later 80K. I am a member of EA DC and joined CEA in 2019. I ascribe to the "keep your identity small" idea and see EA as a really useful set of tools and important questions.

Outside of EA, I'm involved in the Deaf community and interpreting field/higher ed, and enjoy discussions on personal/professional development, doing acro-yoga and cross fit, and reading while laying in hammocks.

sky's Comments

The EA Hotel is now the Centre for Enabling EA Learning & Research (CEEALAR)

I think it's worth noting that the acronym for the Athena Center for EA Study is ACES! :)

What to know before talking with journalists about EA

FYI: I've updated this post to show that we now have an email address for requests for media help:

What to know before talking with journalists about EA

Thanks for adding this, Jonas. I just added a brief blurb that I think is related to this. (See the section about required skills, where I've added a note about being personable but willing to be "awkward"). These are the kinds of tips I'd usually discuss and rehearse with someone in an interview practice session. I notice this post is more about how to evaluate a media opportunity and self-assess readiness, rather than what to do during an actual interview. The latter is something I talk more about with people when we're rehearsing for a specific interview.

When rehearsing mock interviews with people, I've noticed that the point you raise is one of the things that most trips people up though, which I think is understandable.

If someone asks you, "Some people have said butter is blue. Do you think that's true?", it's almost a knee-jerk response to answer "Really? No, I don't think butter is blue. I believe butter is white or yellow, because....". The problem is that our natural instinct here works against us. "EAs 'don't think butter is blue'" is a much weirder and more intriguing quote than, "EAs 'think butter is white or yellow.'"

It's takes practice to get out of this habit and ensure that the words you say consist only of words you want to appear in the article, without giving fodder to competing/distracting/inaccurate messages. (You might still be misrepresented or misunderstood even then, but this is one strategy to lower that risk). The advice of interview coaches is just what you said, Jonas: that you should start right in describing your actual beliefs, and not repeat the question.

It can look something like this:

Q: Some people have said butter is blue. Do you think that's true?

[Take a breath, smile, omit the first part of the response that comes into your head. Say,..]

A: Actually, I think butter is white or yellow. [or]

A: Actually, I don't think that's within my area of expertise.

[Pause. Let it be awkward if needed, wait for a new question]. [or]

A: Hm, no; what I do think is true is...[(possibly unrelated) point that you want to give a good quote about in order to communicate with your readers/viewers].

The last approach can feel especially awkward, but can be very effective in avoiding clickbait quotes and providing content you actually want to be quoted.

What posts you are planning on writing?

I would personally find this very useful!

What to know before talking with journalists about EA

Links are fixed, thanks for flagging! We have different versions of our domain name we can use for our email addresses but I agree that can look confusing, so they're updated too.

Four practices where EAs ought to course-correct

Thanks, Gordon; I've fixed the sharing permissions so that this document is public.

Four practices where EAs ought to course-correct

[Note: I’m a staff member at CEA]

I have been thinking a lot about this exact issue lately and agree. I think that as EA is becoming more well-known in some circles, it’s a good time to consider if — at a community level — EA might benefit from courting positive press coverage. I appreciate the concern about this. I also think that for those of us without media training (myself included), erring on the side of caution is wise, so being media-shy by default makes sense.

I think that whether or not the community as a whole or EA orgs should be more proactive about media coverage is a good question that we should spend time thinking about. The balance of risks and rewards there is an open question.

At an individual level though, I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of clarity recently on best practices and can give a solid recommendation that aligns with Gordon’s advice here.

For the past several months, I’ve sought to get a better handle on the media landscape, and I’ve been speaking with journalists, media advisors, and PR-type folks. Most experts I’ve spoken to (including journalists and former journalists) converge on this advice: For any individual community member or professional (in any movement, organization, etc), it is very unwise to accept media engagements unless you’ve had media training and practice.

I’m now of the mind that interview skills are skills like any other, which need to be learned and practiced. Some of us may find them easier to pick up or more enjoyable than others, but very few of us should expect to be good at interviews without preparation. Training, practice, and feedback can help someone figure out their skills and comfort level, and then make informed decisions if and when media inquiries come up.

To add on to Gordon’s good advice for those interested, here is a quick summary of what I’ve learned about the knowledge and skills required for media engagements:

  • General understanding of a journalist’s role, an interviewee’s role, and journalistic ethics (what they typically will and will not do; what you can and cannot ask or expect when participating in a story)
  • An understanding of the story’s particular angle and where you do or don’t fit
  • Researching the piece and the journalist’s credibility in advance, so that you can…
    • evaluate and choose opportunities where your ideas are more likely to be understood or represented accurately versus opportunities where you’re more likely to be misrepresented; and
    • predict the kinds of questions you’re likely to be asked so that you can practice meaningful responses. (Even simple questions like “what is EA?” can be surprisingly hard to answer briefly and well).
  • Conveying key ideas in a clear, succinct way so that the most important things you want to say are more likely to be what is reported
    • This includes the tricky business of predicting the ways in which certain ideas might be misunderstood by a variety of audiences and practicing how to convey points in a way that avoids such misunderstandings
  • Clearly understanding the scope of your own expertise and only speaking about related issues, while referring questions outside your expertise to others

I think having more community members with media training could be useful, but I also think only some people will find it worth their time to do the significant amount of preparation required.

This feels very timely, because several of us at CEA have recently been working on updating our resources for media engagement. In our Advice for talking with journalists guide, we go into more depth about some of the advice we've received. I’d be happy to have people’s feedback on this resource!

There are *a bajillion* jobs working on plant-based foods right now

I really like the broad range of skills presumably required for this list of jobs -- seems worth looking into further.