Science journalism conveys reporting about science to the public. The
field typically involves interactions between scientists, journalists,
and the public.
2.1 Chocolate hoax
4 Notable science journalists
5 See also
7 External links
8 Further reading
Science values detail, precision, the impersonal, the technical, the
lasting, facts, numbers and being right.
Journalism values brevity,
approximation, the personal, the colloquial, the immediate, stories,
words and being right now. There are going to be tensions.
— Quentin Cooper, of BBC Radio 4’s Material World, 
The aim of a science journalist is to render very detailed, specific,
and often jargon-laden information produced by scientists into a form
that non-scientists can understand and appreciate while still
communicating the information accurately. One way science journalism
can achieve that is to avoid an information deficit model of
communication, which assumes a top-down, one-way direction of
communicating information that limits an open dialogue between
knowledge holders and the public.
Science journalists often have training in the scientific disciplines
that they cover. Some have earned a degree in a scientific field
before becoming journalists or exhibited talent in writing about
science subjects. However, good preparation for interviews and even
deceptively simple questions such as "What does this mean to the
people on the street?" can often help a science journalist develop
material that is useful for the intended audience.
With budget cuts at major newspapers and other media, there are fewer
working science journalists working for traditional print and
broadcast media than before. Similarly, there are currently very
few journalists in traditional media outlets that write multiple
articles on emerging science, such as nanotechnology.
In 2011, there were 459 journalists who had written a newspaper
article covering nanotechnology, of whom 7 wrote about the topic more
than 25 times.
In January 2012, just a week after The Daily Climate reported that
worldwide coverage of climate change continued a three-year slide in
2012 and that among the five largest US dailies, the New York Times
published the most stories and had the biggest increase in
coverage, that newspaper announced that it was dismantling its
environmental desk and merging its journalists with other
News coverage on science by traditional media outlets, such as
newspapers, magazines, radio, and news broadcasts is being replaced by
online sources. In April 2012, the New York Times was awarded two
Pulitzer Prizes for content published by Politico and The Huffington
Post, both online sources, a sign of the platform shift by the media
New communication environments provide essentially unlimited
information on a large number of issues, which can be obtained
anywhere and with relatively limited effort. The web also offers
opportunities for citizens to connect with others through social media
and other 2.0-type tools to make sense of this information.
"After a lot of hand wringing about the newspaper industry about six
years ago, I take a more optimistic view these days,” said Cristine
Russell, president of the Council for the Advancement of Science
Writing. “The world is online.
Science writers today have the
opportunity to communicate not just with their audience but
Blog-based science reporting is filling in to some degree, but has
problems of its own.
John Bohannon § Misleading chocolate study
John Bohannon produced a deliberately bad study to see how a
low-quality open access publisher and the media would pick up their
findings. He worked with a film-maker Peter Onneken who was making a
film about junk science in the diet industry with fad diets becoming
headline news despite terrible study design and almost no
evidence. He invented a fake "diet institute" that lacks even a
website, and used the pen name, "Johannes Bohannon," and fabricated a
Science journalists regularly come under criticism for misleading
reporting of scientific stories. All three groups of scientists,
journalists, and the public often criticize science journalism for
bias and inaccuracies. However, with the increasing collaborations
online between science journalists there may be potential with
removing inaccuracies. The 2010 book
Merchants of Doubt
Merchants of Doubt by
historians of science
Naomi Oreskes and
Erik M. Conway argues that in
topics like the global warming controversy, tobacco smoking, acid
DDT and ozone depletion, contrarian scientists have sought to
"keep the controversy alive" in the public arena by demanding that
reporters give false balance to the minority side. Very often, such as
with climate change, this leaves the public with the impression that
disagreement within the scientific community is much greater than it
Science is based on experimental evidence, testing
and not dogma, and disputation is a normal activity.
Many science magazines, along with Newspapers like The New York Times
and popular science shows like PBS Nova tailor their content to
relatively highly educated audiences. Many universities and
research institutions focus much of their media outreach efforts on
coverage in such outlets. Some government departments require
journalists to gain clearance to interview a scientist, and require
that a press secretary listen in on phone conversations between
government funded scientists and journalists.
Many pharmaceutical marketing representatives have come under fire for
offering free meals to doctors in order to promote new drugs.
Critics of science journalists have argued that they should disclose
whether industry groups have paid for a journalist to travel, or has
received free meals or other gifts.
Science journalism finds itself under a critical eye due to the fact
that it combines the necessary tasks of a journalist along with the
investigative process of a scientist.
Most science journalists begin their careers as either a scientist or
a journalist and transition to science communication.
One area in which science journalists seem to support varying sides of
an issue is in risk communication.
Science journalists may choose to
highlight the amount of risk that studies have uncovered while others
focus more on the benefits depending on audience and framing. Science
journalism in contemporary risk societies leads to the
institutionalisation of mediated scientific public spheres which
exclusively discuss science and technology related issues. This
also leads to the development of new professional relationship between
scientists and journalists, which is mutually beneficial.
There are many different examples of science writing. A few examples
include feature writing, risk communication, blogs, science books,
scientific journals, and science magazines.
Notable science journalists
Natalie Angier, a science journalist for The New York Times
Nina Teicholz, a science journalist for The New York Times
Philip Ball, English science writer
Nora Bär, Argentinian science journalist
David Bodanis, known for his microphotographic style
David Bradley (UK journalist)
William Broad, a science journalist for The New York Times
Deborah Byrd, of the Earth & Sky radio series
Wilson da Silva
David Ewing Duncan
Timothy Ferris, science writer, most often on astronomical topics
Gina Kolata, science journalist for The New York Times.
Federico Kukso, Argentinian science journalist and author
Bob McDonald, Canadian science journalist, host of Quirks & Quarks
Steve Mirsky, columnist for Scientific American
Chris Mooney, science journalist and author
Dennis Overbye of The New York Times
David Quammen, science, nature and travel writer
Matt Ridley, science journalist and author, columnist at the Wall
Nicholas Wade, a science journalist for The New York Times
Frontiers of Science, defunct illustrated comic strip
Further research is needed
Public awareness of science
Science by press conference
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Emma Reh (1896-1982)". Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
Science and the media – an uncomfortable fit By Sallie Robbins".
London: Blogs.independent.co.uk. 2011-09-27. Retrieved
^ Zara, Christopher. "Remember
Science Sections? They're
Almost All Gone". International Business Times. Retrieved 10 May
^ Dudo, A. D.; Dunwoody, S. & Scheufele, D. A. (2011). "The
emergence of nano news: Tracking thematic trends and changes in U.S.
newspaper coverage of nanotechnology".
Journalism & Mass
Communication Quarterly (88): 55–75.
^ Fischer, Douglas. "Climate coverage, dominated by weird weather,
falls further in 2012". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
^ "MEDIA COVERAGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE/GLOBAL WARMING". Center for
Science and Technology Policy Research.
^ Bagley, Katherine. "New York Times Dismantles Its Environment Desk:
Times says demise of the nine-person team, created in 2009, won't
affect climate coverage". Inside Climate News. Retrieved 10 May
^ Zara, Christopher. "Remember
Science Sections? They're
Almost All Gone". International Business Times. Retrieved 13 May
^ "Unpopular Science", by Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, The
Nation, Aug. 17, 2009
^ John Bohannon. "I Fooled Millions Into Thinking Chocolate Helps
Weight Loss. Here's How". Io9.
^ "International Press Release: Slim by Chocolate".
instituteofdiet.com. Archived from the original on 12 December
^ Novin, A., Secko, D. (November 25, 2012). "Debate Cited: A First
Exploration of a Web Application to Enhance the Production of Science
Journalism Interest Group. CCA/Groupe
d’intérêt en journalisme, ACC Conference Proceedings (2012).
Retrieved September 8, 2016.
^ Peter T. Doran & Maggie Kendall Zimmerman (20 January 2009).
"Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change" (PDF). Archived
from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2009.
^ "Bad science Science". London: The Guardian. 27 July 2007.
Science Needs a Storyline". Columbia
^ "Transparency Watch: A Closed Door". Columbia Journalism
^ "Physician–Industry Relations. Part 1: Individual Physicians".
^ De Ferrari, A; Gentille, C; Davalos, L; Huayanay, L; Malaga, G
(2014). "Attitudes and Relationship between Physicians and the
Pharmaceutical Industry in a Public General Hospital in Lima, Peru".
PLoS ONE. 9 (6): e100114. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0100114.
PMC 4076259 . PMID 24978481.
^ "Where do science journalists draw the line?". Columbia Journalism
^ Zivkovic, Bora."The Line Between
Journalism is Getting
Science Progress", 21 December 2010.
^ Shiju Sam Varughese. 2017. Contested Knowledge: Science, Media, and
Democracy in Kerala. Oxfod University Press, New Delhi
^ "Community Resources for Justice". crj.org.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Science Publications at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Brainard, Curtis (March 20, 2009). "Nature's Artificial Divide".
Yong, Ed (29 July 2010). "On the Origin of
Science Writers". National
Geographic Phenomena Blog.
Science and the public
Public awareness of science
The Amateur Scientist
March for Science
News writing style
Freedom of the press
TV and radio
List of journalism articles