British article unleashes debate on science coverage

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

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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Photo by Alex Barth via Flickr

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.

1 thought on “British article unleashes debate on science coverage

  1. Ed Yong

    Thanks for the coverage Pia. I’m particularly pleased that the post has stimulated many well-considered comments that have largely avoided the standard “media-is-great/media-is-rubbish” angles that usually predominate.

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