Really, one of these times I’ll get onto a new topic, but every time I turn around, new posts pop up in the scientists and journalists conversation. The most recent updates:
Chris Mooney, part II. I want to emphasize a resource he linked: the report from a 2005 workshop on “Science Communications and the News Media.” I haven’t had time to do more than skim it yet, but it’s interesting reading.
Chris also notes:
The real upshot of all this is that scientists–at least those planning on doing interviews–need to study the media, at least in enough detail to get a sense of some of these basics. And vice-versa: Journalists need to talk to scientists to understand their qualms. But sweeping generalizations and lashings out from either camp won’t help things.
The most interesting thing about this, to me, was how many people seemed to find the whole business radioactive. Three people turned it down outright, and the fourth was willing to do it, but very happy to hand it off to me. And the faculty from other departments who I ate lunch with also regarded it as completely ridiculous.
I sympathize more with this one, because it was TV, which to me is a whole other ball of wax. (Just wait until the ASM video clip comes out…you’ll see why I stick to print media!)
Finally, the Chronicle had a timely story–not exactly on this topic, but on a journalist who received a PhD in comparative literature, but decided not to go into academia. It contained this on-topic quote:
But journalists often look down on Ph.D.’s. That was the flip side of my problem. There’s a mutual disdain between academics and journalists that is based more on an unwillingness to understand the other’s position than anything else. Academics are in constant fear of being misunderstood in the popular press, and think journalists often miss the nuances of a particular subject.
It’s been interesting reading all the comments…but what I want to know now is, where do we go from here? How do we educate the rest of our colleagues–or do we even bother to try? Your thoughts are welcome.
[Edited to add: and speaking of The Chronicle, they also have mentioned the discussion on their blog.]