Thursday, July 30, 2009
Science Journalism and the Two Cultures
At the "Two Cultures" meeting in New York last May there was a panel discussion on "Science Communication." The four panelists, Carl Zimmer, Andrew Revkin, Ira Flatow, and Paula Apsell, were all science journalists. I found this disappointing since it implies that there are no scientists who are knowledgeable enough about science communication to sit on such a panel.
Carl has linked to the video on Science Communications so you can watch it yourselves.You won't be surprised to discover that there are many people who get blamed for the lack of science literary and the failure of science communication in America. But there's one group that comes across as being the experts and the champions of good science communication. It's not scientists.
This makes no sense to me. Science journalists are very proud of their role in communicating science and they lament the fact that the general public isn't getting educated. Doesn't the failure to educate the public conflict with the concept that science journalists are so good at what they do?
Carl Zimmer, to his credit, seemed to be the only one on the panel who was willing to discuss the failings of science journalists. Andrew Revkin, on the other hand, is very negative about scientists and thinks they are the problem, not the journalists. My question is at 47 minutes.