Can I tell you something. Got to tell you one thing. If you expect the freedom that you say is yours prove that you deserve it. Help us to preserve it or being free will just be words and nothing more.
Kansas, 1974

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Science in the Media

This looks like it will provide some interesting reading, A Healthy Distrust. An excerpt from the inaugural post,
The clash of cultures between science and journalism has been the subject of long debate in the science communication literature (Trench, 2007). Science is slow and precise, while journalism is fast, short, and often imprecise (Hartz and Chappell, 1997). The language used in each field is quite different. The language of science is guarded and qualified, while journalists make much use of metaphors, and are principally concerned with making their writing readable, simple, understandable and entertaining (McCall, 1988; Anton and McCourt, 1995; Nelkin, 1995).

Scientists have frequently pointed out that the media ignore both the process and the substance of science (Nelkin, 1995). The reliance of journalists on pre-packaged information such as press releases and staged events for science information has come in for a good deal of criticism (Shepherd, 1979; 1981; Nelkin, 1995; Agnell, 1996; Saari et al., 1998), as has the tendency to cover science in an episodic fashion, with an emphasis on 'breakthroughs' and 'magic bullets' (Wilkins and Patterson, 1987; Logan, 1998). The tendency of the media to cover emerging, or 'breakthrough' science as fact, despite its preliminary data being, perhaps, very tentative has also been frequently criticised (Nelkin, 1995; Logan et al., 1997; Logan et al., 2000b).

The whole thing is well researched and well thought out. Well worth the time it takes to read it. Hat tip Epiwonk.

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