Category Archives: Science Reporting

SEMINAR REFLECTION – SCIENCE AND JOURNALISM

We discussed science and journalism in this week’s seminar. It was interesting as it could be linked to social media and the ‘verification process’ it requires. With all this information out in the public sphere, and the demand for information being greater than ever, there is pressure on journalists to produce content continuously. Science journalism nowadays has arguably become more sensational, rather than scientifically factual. Science requires a great cycle of research, namely ‘peer review’, which requires constant research by the scientist. However, science journalists tend to conclude their scientific report without keeping the public updated throughout the process, whereas scientist never conclude a report as there is always continuous research taking place. Furthermore, we discussed that scientific research is driven by what journalists choose to report on. If we take the recent Ebola outbreak, the press took on this story and reported on it incessantly. This created a moral panic amongst the public, which encouraged the government to act upon it to reassure all the people. However, similar to the tabloidization argument, I would argue that there are specific publications out there for members of the public who are looking for intense scientific reports and publications. It remains the journalist’s responsibility of the journalists to clearly outline the research that has been executed for that report. In addition, the audience must be aware of the controversies that affect science and journalism and must understand that some reports are solely sensationally dramatic, mainly for entertainment purposes. You must always take claims made in scientific reports with a pinch of salt, as it is not always executed properly due to the intentions that the journalists have when writing their piece. We need to understand that the sphere of knowledge is growing constantly, which is why I think that scientific stories should be reported as long as it is factually correct and does not promote incorrect information.

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