Saturday, August 14, 2010

Warning: Bad Science

This one is funny and the subject is sadly true. Its about science journalism, or rather the lack of proper, verified, good science journalism, and someone who decided to make readers aware of it. Introducing Journalism Warning Labels. Stickable warning labels created by Tom Scott to warn unsuspecting readers about what kind of material they are reading. Here are a few of my favorites, you can find more over at http://www.tomscott.com/warnings/ .








Thanks to Tom Scott for the great idea and Rick for posting the story.

3 comments:

Slack-jawed Yokel said...

I've stopped reading any science news from non-blog or technical sources. The lack of detail and zeal for over-the-top headlines and gross mischaracterization of facts/reality of the situation is particularly obvious in scientific affairs, but it contaminates every other news subheading too. That's how we have all these candy corn news items and reporting that doesn't present the proper background information. I don't know what goes into making a reporter, but it doesn't seem like there's much emphasis on proper technical writing. Maybe there never was...

Melissa said...

I think that many times there is a lack of good science in journalism because there is a lack of good scientists in journalism. Major news outlets hand the story to a writer with no background in science or editors butcher a story to garner more readership with sensationalist spin. So sad, especially because many science stories are sensational all on their own.

Slack-jawed Yokel said...

I think I also expect to read a journal article when I read a news article... you know- referenced, following a logical progression based on previous information, and with a reasonable set of conclusions that does actually equip the reader with enough information to make an informed decision about the information. But none of that happens. For science reporting in particular, I think the articles needlessly dumb material down. Not that the public is capable of appreciating a technical report, but a simplified science article doesn't have to have all of the other shortcomings of modern journalism to boot.

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