Free Book on Science & Media

For Immediate Release: Oct. 14, 2010

Contact: Paul Karoff, pkaroff@amacad.org, 617-576-5043

“Science and the Media” Explores Challenges to Scientific Literacy in U.S.

Essays Published by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Scientists and the journalists who cover their research approach their roles from very different perspectives, yet they depend on each other to do their jobs. [more]

Props for Jay

Jay Rosen is the person best at making sense of modern journalism, especially in America.

He doesn’t usually think of science journalism in particular, but his comments are often strikingly on target for our interests as well.

There’s an excellent interview with Rosen in The Economist

Some of it reflects on the quandary that someone like Revkin faces:

I do not think journalists should “join the team”. [more]

Keith’s Lament

On a recent article here, Keith (I am guessing Keith Kloor) laments:

I’m not defending my professional pride. I know well that journalism has its shortcomings. (See Iraq war for for obvious and tragic example.)

I just happen to believe that your expectations of journalists are unreasonable. You seem to think it falls on journalism’s collective shoulders to rescue humanity from imminent climate catastrophe. [more]

Journalism of Climate Change per Yulsman

Apparently, Tom Yulsman has been on the “climate beat” for quite some time.

Anyway, he has a collection of interesting observations about communicating climate science from various participants. Unfortunately, no compelling position emerges from it. Sometimes I suspect that it is exactly the purpose of conventional journalism, to avoid influencing the reader’s position at all. [more]

Slicin’ and Dicin’ with Dyson and Bryson

The mantle of lovable old coot of liberal persuasion who thinks global warming is hooey has been passed to a new old generation.

I tried to avoid saying anything nasty about Reid Bryson while he was around. Reid was, no doubt about it, a very nice man. He was also the founder of the department that gave me my doctorate, at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. [more]

The Problem and the Problem with the Problem


The prolific (and arguably indispensable) Joe Romm has a terrifying summary about global warming which appears to me to be pretty much on the mark.

Joe believes that people who understand the situation in this way should stick together. Given the scope of the problem, and the vast difference between the perspectives of those few who understand it and those many who don’t, you’d think we ought to stick together through thick and thin. [more]

Grist for the Mill


Using SXSWi as an occasion to ponder the future of journalism has been fruitful so far.

Larry Lessig did not disappoint. He really had two themes. He said that the first problem is separating congressional job retention form money. “That’s bnot the only problem. That’s not the most important problem. But is is the first problem.”

The odd thing is that while he made a compelling case for solutions to that problem being logically precedent (in the USA, what about elsewhere?) to all the other ones, it seems to me he ALSO made a case for a different logically precedent problem. [more]

Sustainable Awesomeness

(Picture: guy in a pink gorilla suit selling some silly thing or other at SXSW;
guy on cellphone at left probably has a more consequential job)

Why am I at SXSWi?

“SXSWi?” regular readers will surely ask. If I tell them it’s locally pronounced “Sowfba enneractive” the confusion may well mount. [more]

More on George Will

Much, much, much more… All tolled, (and not yet all told) this is the first major league blogstorm emerging from the non-denialist climo-blogosphere and is thus a historical event regardless of your position on it.

If there’s one thing you should understand about this event it is this one: Jonathan Schwarz tells an old Noam Chomsky story about George Will in an article entitled “So Much Nicer To Be George Will Before The Internet”. [more]

Journalism

I feel a death-of-journalism topic coming on. Here’s a teaser.

I’ve been following @jayrosen_nyu on Twitter. He’s an excellent source of post-web meta-journalism stories. Including this one by Steve Rhodes mentioning among many other things my pet peeve about how the NYTimes uses link tags:

I was reading a trade industry publication last week informing those of our profession that you don’t have to use the old AP inverted pyramid style when writing your stories. [more]

Ludicrous Article on Slate

Andy Revkin is taking bait set by Ron Rosenbaum in a ludicrous article on Slate.

Here is my response.

Well, I’ve been advocating you cover dissent too, but from a sociological perspective. You should report on Naomi Oreskes’ work uncovering the roots of the pseudoscientific footdragging that bypasses the scientific community entirely and goes directly to the press. [more]

It’s Not That Hard

The Climate Spin blog has been interesting of late.

In a recent article, Rob Jacob points to recent improvements in science journalism exemplified by Newsweek reporter Sharon Begley.

While it’s starting to dawn on American journalists how they have been played like a fiddle for the past couple of decades, (something many of us have found painfully obvious all the while) it still seems that they miss important stories. [more]