Dec 12, 2012

Putting science journalism under the microscope

Science journalism is in a rough state in Australia: there is rampant miscommunication and stories are "dumbed down" or overblown, writes researcher Timothy Moss.

“The misrepresentations … the inability to understand basic facts and report them in a logical and coherent way.”

That was Mark Latham decrying the state of Australian political journalism in a recent column for The Australian Financial Review. Those words might just have easily come from scientists, frustrated at media outlets for inaccurate reporting of their research.

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2 thoughts on “Putting science journalism under the microscope

  1. Moira Smith

    ‘All of Australia’s large research organisations have media offices, charged with getting stories out of the lab and into the wider world. Sometimes, though, these offices manage to mangle scientific messages. Crikey has heard stories of press releases — pulled at the last minute at the insistence of researchers — that completely misrepresent research findings in their attempts to turn complicated science into copy-ready media fodder.’

    I can well believe it. As a Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (whatever that is) sufferer and patient advocate, I’ve lost count of the number of times some news program has proclaimed ‘new scientific evidence’ or even ‘a cure’.

    Same with any common but hard-to-fix ailment eg cancer, morbid obesity, autism.

    But then, the researchers need the money … and we (the sufferers) want them to get it if they’re on the right track.

  2. Rourke


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