Highlighting good science journalism would contribute to improving coverage, according to Ed Yong, writing for Discover Magazine’s Not Exactly Rocket Science blog.
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He writes that a lack of accountability fuels frustration with poor science journalism, as it does in the case of a story in the UK’s Observer newspaper that was critiqued by the Guardian’s Ben Goldacre and has now been removed from the Web site.
The episode has triggered a number of pieces about whether such critiques are helpful or whether science journalists are unfairly criticized, including “an opinion piece from the Independent’s health editor Jeremy Laurence criticising Goldacre, a response from Goldacre criticising Laurance, and a defence of Laurance from Fiona Fox of the Science Media Centre.”
Yong also points readers to an amusing – and angry – post by Martin Robbins at the Lay Scientist, who says, “Robust criticism is a vital part of science, and it should be a vital part of journalism.”
Robbins also points out, in more colorful language, that journalists who don’t do simple fact checking are making themselves irrelevant.