Friday, March 20, 2009

the case of the vanishing science reporters

There is an interesting feature on the general disappearance of science reporters from the mainstream media (newspapers and telly) in yesterday's issue of Nature, page 274, accompanied by a comment on p 260. Their main concern seems to be that the communications that are replacing old-fashioned science reporting are either PR-driven and thus dumbed down beyond recognition, or, in the blogosphere, so specialised that they only reach those people who are looking for such information and presumably have a science education already.

I have addressed similar concerns from my personal experience in my recent piece Is science journalism turning into fast food?. I guess I am more concerned about the dumbing down than about the "preaching to the choir" part of the problem. Even in the good old days of the science-pullouts in the newspapers, there will have been many people who binned the pullouts straight away. All we can do is to offer the chance to find out about this world (on a reasonably meaningful level). Can't force people to read it.

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