Sponsored by:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta awarded Fitzwater Medallion

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta accepts the Fitzwater Medallion for Leadership in Public Communication during a ceremony at the Franklin Pierce campus on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta accepts the Fitzwater Medallion for Leadership in Public Communication during a ceremony at the Franklin Pierce campus on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta receives the Fitzwater Medallion for Leadership in Public Communication from Franklin Pierce University Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Catherine Paden during a ceremony at the Franklin Pierce campus on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta receives the Fitzwater Medallion for Leadership in Public Communication from Franklin Pierce University Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Catherine Paden during a ceremony at the Franklin Pierce campus on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta shakes hands with Franklin Pierce University Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Catherine Paden during a ceremony at the Franklin Pierce campus on Thursday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta with Franklin Pierce student Magnolia McComish during a question-and-answer session. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/6/2022 6:02:38 PM

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN, accepted the Fitzwater Medallion for Leadership in Public Communication at the Franklin Pierce University campus Thursday for his work keeping the public informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Franklin Pierce President Kim Mooney praised Gupta’s recognition of the impact coronavirus could have in early March 2020.

“On March 9, 2020, Dr. Sanjay Gupta shared with the world why CNN would be, quote, ‘using the word pandemic to describe the current coronavirus outbreak,’ end quote. Noting that neither the World Health Organization nor the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had yet declared it so, he indicated that on that day, over 100,000 cases and 3,000 deaths worldwide had already been attributed to this new virus,” Mooney said. “He alerted the world, including the Franklin Pierce University community, to the potential challenges ahead, and assured us, ‘This is a crisis we can overcome, if we can work together.’”

After being awarded the medallion, Gupta gave an address to a crowd of students at Franklin Pierce, followed by a student-led question-and-answer session.

Gupta said the science supported classifying COVID-19 as a pandemic, and that it was clear the virus was reaching all the benchmarks to declare it. However, he said he still had reservations in being at the forefront of making that declaration.

“When I wrote that article and we were reporting on it, I wasn’t worried about the accuracy of what we were saying. I was more worried about the impact of how it might frighten people. So, most of what we did, beyond declaring a pandemic, was to say, ‘Here’s what that means,’” Gupta said.

This duty to not only inform the public, but contextualize it, was one of the things that first led Gupta to become a correspondent, he told students. 

“Around 20 years ago, I started living this bifurcated life, where I was practicing neurosurgery, but I had always had a tremendous fondness for journalists, as well. I had realized, I think as a consumer of journalism, that good journalism led not only to a more-informed society but a more-knowledgeable one,” he said. “And in my mind, these were different things. Information is plentiful, especially nowadays. In a way, information is a refined form of data. Where knowledge represents a greater understanding of material, an appreciation, a deeper awareness of the issue.”

Gupta described science as a humbling field, where scientists have to be willing to admit when their hypotheses are wrong, and not to try to create certainty when what they’re really dealing with is most likely probabilities. He encouraged students to adopt that attitude of humility themselves, but also arm themselves with information by reading and speaking to people with differing opinions, and to accept that sometimes, things won’t be understood right away simply because they are new. 

“In the information society, people run the risk of becoming reductionists. Issues can become binary, and perhaps most concerning, there develops this desire to constantly inject certainty into probabilistic situations,” Gupta said. “People too often think of things as right or wrong, accurate or not, true or false. But in the knowledge society, we get the opportunity to embrace nuance, those gray areas in between, where I believe real learning and real growth come from.”

There is a need to bolster the public’s trust in both the media and medicine, Gupta said, and one way to do that is to be honest, both about what is known and what’s not.

Gupta said there is an importance to public health in getting information to the public, but there is still much to learn about how to connect the audience with the information. Often, he said, he hears reports that are “clinical” in nature. In his reporting, he said it is often more-effective to connect with people in contexts they understand, often by telling the stories of individual people.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


Sign up for Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Newsletters
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Headline Alerts
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript MLT Minute North
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript MLT Minute South
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Real Estate & Transactions
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Contests and Promotions
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Dining & Entertainment
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Sports
 

Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, your source for Peterborough area news.


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

20 Grove St.
Peterborough, NH 03458
603-924-7172

 

© 2021 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy