Sub-par coverage of science

When the publishing and news world went digital, news stations and journals had to make staff cuts. Unfortunately the first to go were usually scientific writers. The current status of quality science writers is unimpressive, and the few that remain are usually tasked with writing stories about things other than science. The media covering new scientific news is a lot of the times under qualified to effectively communicate and interpret science for the public. This leads to oversimplification and hyperbole in scientific reporting. Because of their lack of understanding and ability to ready primary research articles, they nearly exclusively rely on secondary sources of information such as press releases. This has resulted in a lack of quality journal articles on science.  In a study of scientific journals, it was found that over many articles were taken word-for-word from the original release. This copy-paste mentality taken by scientific journals is unacceptable for engaging the public in scientific discourse.

I think that a way for journals to keep salaries down while still having quality articles would be for them to turn more to free-lancing. This would allow for an outsourcing of work to interested, qualified writers who would have the time to delve into the science behind the report rather than settling for copying and pasting from a university’s public relations department press release.

Gross, Teodoro León. “From The Rhetoric Of Science To Scientific Journalism.” Interactions: Studies In Communication & Culture 5.1 (2014): 25-40. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 3 Feb. 2015.

Lynch, John, et al. “Bridging Science And Journalism: Identifying The Role Of Public Relations In The Construction And Circulation Of Stem Cell Research Among Laypeople.” Science Communication 36.4 (2014): 479-501. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 3 Feb. 2015.

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