Ira Flatow’s influence extends from the airwaves to moving pictures, from the most advanced of media back to media’s roots – the written word.
Flatow has authored many news articles that have been published through multiple news outlets, including Woman’s Day, American Lawyer, and ESPN Magazine. He has also provided commentary for The Los Angeles Times and Current.
On the internet, Flatow has taken part in web casts for Discovery Online and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. His SciFri Twitter audience is the largest of all Public Radio talk shows, and his Science Friday Kids’ Connection web pages are among Home PC Magazine’s awards for the top 500 Web sites in the country.
As well as being a master of communications, Ira Flatow also dabbles in business ventures. Flatow currently owns TalkingScience, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit company that aims to make science more “user-friendly” through Internet, radio, and television outlets.
Unfortunately, not all of Flatow’s business ventures operate as seemingly flawlessly as his endeavors in science communication. Flatow’s company Science Friday, Inc., which used to produce Science Friday on NPR, recently (in 2014) avoided a lawsuit over allegations related to the misuse of a federal grant of $998,554 from the National Science Foundation. The grant was to be used to have a greater impact on younger audiences through internet and social media.
This lawsuit apparently rose from a regular grant compliance review. Flatow’s company allegedly violated the False Claims Act, as well as common law, through its submission of false federal financial reports (9 of them) and 19 false cash advance requests. Furthermore, Science Friday, Inc. did not have a sufficient system in place to monitor salary and time spent on the grant, and according to the government, it used grant money to cover inappropriate costs.
According to the settlement, Science Friday, Inc. will pay the government $145,531, and it must also follow several other conditions, such as adhering to a five-year compliance plan if money is requested from the NSF and Science Friday, Inc. is considered for receiving the grant. Flatow holds that settling the lawsuit is not an admission of guilt (he disagrees completely with the grounds of the suit), but it is the most financially efficient solution.
For more information about this scandal, click here.