This week’s readings were very telling on the state of science journalism… on Earth. And can be summarized in one word: Dyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyiiiiiiiiiiiingggggggggggggggg~~!!
I am not surprised. Speaking from experience, most of my peers in Highschool was deathly afraid of science. And here in the Philippines, especially in the College of Mass Communication Journalism Department, most if not all of the students would go: “noseblood, NoSeBleeD, NOSEBLEHHHD! N053d34d! (nosedead) KhkhkhkKHk… *dead*” at the sound of any Math or Science subject. I wouldn’t blame them. It’s the education system’s fault. Rather than focusing on “understanding”, it just force-feeds facts into the small kamotes of the poor 12 – 17 year olds thus traumatizing them. They call that education, but the information becomes psychological blocked once exams are over. No, that is not quite right.
The articles this week, Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media, Scientific [Mis]Communication, Science journalism: Supplanting the old media? talks about the many symptoms and diseases that plague and herald the demise of science journalism. It’s savior? Science Blogging? Maybe, if only they checked their sources. But, how are they to do so? Anyone can blog. Anyone can Wikipedia or Google information if that’s what they are after, but without journalistic ethics of checking your sources (which is not very easy in the Internet) and getting other sources to corroborate or debunk or shed more light on the subject, science blogging FAILS.
Media fails as well. For one, they are very selective and will only pick “newsworthy” (or in other words, something that can make them money) subjects to report on, but the fact is a research’s significance may not reveal itself until it is known by more people. Media fails because it repackages the “science” they do report on to cater to lower spectra of the IQ scale. Me thinks if only media knew how to do it properly, then a lot more “philanthropists” or even businessmen would have donated to fund researches they happen to see on TV. As Dr. Galapon said, “Science is the future!” And who knows how to invest best, than those who’ve already invested very well.
Scientists themselves could write about their research (if they had the time, and the funding), but maybe they should learn a thing or two about writing before doing so. The articles How to Write a Good Story in 800 Words or Less and How Humor Can Make Your Writing More Powerful should be one of their first reads. Yes, it’s important to be comprehensive, but it is also equally important to be concise and also to be entertaining when writing to an audience less intellectually gifted than yourself.
If you ask me what I thought the hope of science journalism really is, I can’t really tell you a straight answer. But I’m sure that changing the views of those who are still young and (*wink*) malleable (*evil laugh*) is one of them. If the Children are the Future, and Science is too? Then aren’t they supposed to go hand in hand?