SCIENCE REPORTER 2015 PDF
Started in , Science Reporter is one of the oldest English language popular science monthlies published in India. It has a wide circulation throughout the. (Download) Science Reporter Free PDF Archive. (Download) Science Reporter Free PDF Archive. January · February · March PDF | On May 2, , Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay and others published Science Reporter May SCIENCE REPORTER, MAY FEATURE FEATURE.
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Then there's the journal that published it — a so-called pay-for-play publication, which failed to carry out peer review of the findings.
As Bohannon himself exposed in another sting for the journal Science a couple of years ago, there are lots of these publications that will publish bad research for a fee. And finally, none of the reporters who covered it asked an outside expert to weigh in on the research — standard operating procedure in good science journalism. If they had, an astute scientist would have spotted the problems with the study design immediately.
Indeed, just this week, our sister blog, Shots, ran a great post by Tara Haelle explaining how this process of tapping independent experts helped steer her from reporting on a flawed study suggesting that a childhood vaccine prevents leukemia.
Bohannon's full story is long, but worth the read as an explanation of the pitfalls that plague science communication — especially nutrition information — in today's media climate.
For the past nine years, the site has been dedicated to critiquing the media's coverage of health in an effort to improve it.
We have news releases from medical journals, academic institutions and industry that mislead journalists, who then mislead the public. Schwitzer says it's appropriate that Bohannon chose chocolate for his diet study stunt.
A FLASH HISTORY OF SCIENCE WRITING
From claims that chocolate can boost memory to press releases that oversell its benefit to heart health, the sweet stuff is the subject of many of the news stories Schwitzer's site criticizes. To be clear, there is good research suggesting benefits from eating chocolate — but Bohannon's study isn't it. But does Bohannon's stunt reveal the credibility crisis in nutrition science journalism or add to it?
Schwitzer is a fan of Bohannon's message — but he worries that it will get lost in our rapid churn, hour news cycle, and the journalists who need to be schooled in proper nutrition science reporting will have already moved on to the next thing. And there are others who aren't taking kindly to Bohannon's work. Without someone to do epistemic triage in an affected field—a function that properly conducted science makes moot—even a noiseless transmission channel will spew reliable and unreliable research alike into the public sphere.
Epistemic norms would counsel not covering the affected fields until researchers get their act together. Suppose the journalist sees her professional role as more than being a pipeline between scientists and the public.
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She must still avoid epistemically misleading framing choices and other mediations. The lay stance makes it a matter of luck or intuition whether her choices are epistemically virtuous ones. The objective journalist strives for verifiable facts, accurate reporting of events, impartial reporting and writing, and a detached, impersonal point of view. Practices associated with this norm—modeled on the scientific method Nelkin, ; Schudson, —include using neutral language detachment , fairly representing positions and actors impartiality , and getting both sides of the story balance Schudson, , ; Mindich, ; Schudson and Anderson, ; Vos, But these practices guide descriptions of people and their words and actions.
They presuppose the ability to verify facts and ensure accuracy, which the science journalist reporting from the lay stance does not have.
Science Reporter online magazine
Trust is essential to journalism, but not blind trust. When reporters cannot ascertain the actual level of credibility of research, they may be more inclined to frame a science story in ways that raise or lower its appearance of credibility instead Dixon and Clarke, They may be more likely to use epistemically damaging metaphors, such as by drawing unjustified analogies to human stereotypes e.
They may use balance or competing voices without considering that this practice transforms any degree of uncertainty about the facts into a difference of opinion about the facts. This is epistemically catastrophic on the science beat.
We expect scientific opinions to be based on the best available evidence, but uncertainty framed in terms of differences of opinion suggests all scientific opinions are equally valid and evidence is secondary or irrelevant. The practice also lowers the credibility of science journalists Jensen, for cancer news and empowers industry to manipulate public opinion and sow doubt Antilla, and Wilson, for climate science.
Problems in climate science communication illustrate how standard journalistic practices can transform reliable science into unreliable science news. Nearly unanimous scientific consensus on anthropogenic causes of climate change if not on specific consequences enabled environmental reporters to do their jobs much as Boffey did decades ago.
If climate science turned out to be riddled with QRPs, we would be back to the start of this paper.
Gist of The Hindu, Yojana, Kurukshetra, PIB & Science Reporter (July 2015)
As with QRPs in science, these practices also have pragmatic justifications. But short of becoming scientists, how can journalists shoulder their epistemic responsibility? What is to be Done?
In complex epistemic communities, no one individual has the expertise to verify a result and epistemic virtue depends on the efforts of the group.
Interdisciplinary scientific collaborations are a primary example of such communities. Science journalists and scientists are another, with science news the interdisciplinary product.
They need to work together to ensure an epistemically virtuous product. Specific steps might include the following. Scientist and journalist professional ethics organizations e. They can also create best practice guidelines regarding general issues such as control of narrative structure, advisability of prepublication story review, responsible use of metaphor, framing, headlines, and other rhetorical features, and ways to deal with distinct sources of uncertainty e.
In this context, scientists and journalists are both experts and must integrate their expertise for better public outcomes. Scientists are open to such collaborative efforts Illes et al. In these models, expertise remains divided among group members and the results of subtasks are integrated across boundaries by negotiation.
It would also mean professional cultural shifts Reed, For scientists, this would mean shifting from distrust of journalists and ignorance of what journalists do to an appreciation of journalistic expertise Utts, ; Besley and Nisbet, ; McConway, This requirement can become an effective tool for improved science news if publically funded grants must include a component whereby independent professional journalists are included in teams that turn research results into science news.
This would be interdisciplinary interaction at a team rather than profession level. Or for that matter, important issues such as cloning, satellite launches, or the Human Genome Project.
The two-year-long series India Can Do It, that dealt with success stories in Indian science and technology, was widely appreciated. As were the special issues brought out from time to time on varied topics such as environment, food irradiation, natural disasters, and on eminent personalities, such as Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, C.
Raman, Ramanujan, Birbal Sahni and M. Saha, to name a few. In every issue, Science Reporter presents a mixed package of humour, science fiction, puzzles, science projects and crosswords, and columns dealing with topics such as computers, environment, health and much more.
Good News for Readers of Science Reporter!It would also mean professional cultural shifts Reed, Seeing his lab and interviewing him there gave me details I wouldn't have discovered over the phone. In your daily quest for the novel and the newsworthy, you jump from field to field, subject to subject, and it never gets old. This approach motivates forms of collaboration and training that can improve the epistemic reliability of science news.
The digital age has blurred or, some say wiped out the line between independent journalism, public information, public relations, and private interest.
The two-year-long series India Can Do It, that dealt with success stories in Indian science and technology, was widely appreciated.
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