An article in Christian Science Monitor, reporting from the AAAS meeting last month, quotes me in a couple of places: As Climate Change debate wages on, scientists turn to Hollywood for help – read the whole thing (it may not be obvious at first, but there are two pages there).
The must-read of the day is Ed Yong’s The value of ‘this is cool’ science stories:
But for now, as newspapers decline and shrink, the worry is that the internet will only cater for established interests. As Colin asks, “All of my interviews have pointed out that strong story and strong characters can get someone to read your science story, but what if they don’t open the section?”
Opening a section, of course, is an example of “pull marketing”, where users and consumers yank in the information that they actively demand. But the internet’s strengths will increasingly rely on “push marketing” where people foist material towards consumers. This isn’t just about traditional paid advertising. Social media ensures that we are all each others’ editors and advertisers. Through email, Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Buzz and more, we shove content into the attentional spotlights of our contacts.
And this is an area where “this-is-cool” stories really excel.
Eric Roston joins in the discussion with Thought Experiment: New Journalism Division of Labor:
It’s widely understood and celebrated that the categories “journalist” and “blogger” are insufficient to capture the richness and opportunity–really, the once-in-five-centuries revolution–that electronic media bring to civic discourse and investigation of people in power (including journalists and bloggers). After this year’s Science Online conference, I started wondering, though, how can we think about divisions of labor within a new media environment that so frequently has all the discernible sub-structures of a bowl of soup? For efficiency, I am condensing the words “journalist” and “blogger” into “jogger.”
Perhaps it is j-schools that are most resistant to change, mis-educating their charges? Dave Taylor had a telling experience: A class of CU journalism seniors, and only one was blogging?:
Ultimately, it was an interesting conversation, but it’s been a while since I felt like I was in the position of defending what I see as the natural evolution of media and journalism. As I feared, my impression of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication remains that it’s a dinosaur bellowing furiously at the impending climate change, it’s King Canute standing on the beach yelling “Ocean, be thou still! I bid thee come not nearer to my feet!” even as the waves implacably roll in.
The world of information dissemination is evolving before our eyes, going from four channels of television to hundreds to thousands, from one or two major newspapers per community to dozens, and from mainstream outlets to everything being an outlet. Journalism is surely just as much about speed of dissemination as it is digging up the muck (a relatively modern invention in the journalistic world, btw), so Twitter users breaking the news of the Chilean earthquake way before any news outlets do is a harbinger of the future, not a monster to be feared.
Brian Switek wrote two long and very useful posts for anyone considering writing a popular science book – worth reading and saving: So you want to write a pop-sci book, Part 1: From idea to agent and So you want to write a pop-sci book, Part 2: The value of blogs.
This is a little older, but I did not see it until today, still relevant: Journalistic malpractice on global warming :
Since I’ve advocated a more explicit use of the word “lie”, I’ll go ahead and follow my own advice: that Daily Mail headline is a lie.
Finally, I asked (and many people are trying to argue more than answer) What is Journalism?