For the Record #1: Bad Science Journalism

I encounter a huge volume of online articles and commentary on such subjects as Darwin and Darwinism, writing, bad science journalism, ingrown nipples and rectal prolapses, most of which I would love to have the time to dissect and disseminate here on this Blog, but being a mere mortal, I am going to have to be satisfied with simply listing them from time to time, just for the record:
Bad Science Journalism
The Sorry State of Environmental Journalism by Bill Chameides (7 Oct. 2010) – The impact of bad science journalism is an ignorant electorate:  http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/envirojournalism
This is a news website article about a scientific paper by Martin Robbins (27 Sept. 2010) – The template for mediocrity and unprofessionalism in scientific journalism:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2010/sep/24/1
Science journalism approaches terminal velocity by John Hawks (2010) – Regarding the sad state of science journalism, or the public perception thereof:  http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/meta/science-journalism-terminal-velocity-2010.html
The Often Sorry State of Science Journalism by Chris Holdgraf (Oct. 2010) – “problem largely stems from the lack of scientific background that many of our science journalists have”:  http://www.thisisyourbrainonawesome.com/2010/10/the-often-sorry-state-of-science-journalism/
Guide to linking on the BBC News website by BBC (Sept. 2010) – one small step for sciencekind, let’s hope there’s more uptake:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/38963534/BBC-guidelines-for-linking-–-Sept-2010
WIN: new BBC guidelines say science news stories must link to the scientific paper by Ben Goldacre (8 Oct. 2010) – Great development towards responsible science journalism; just got to get the journos to read the papers now:  http://bengoldacre.posterous.com/win-new-bbc-guidelines-say-science-news-stori
BBC alters link guidelines for online articles by Josh Halliday Friday (8 Oct. 2010) – Reporters are now including links to primary articles instead of linking to a journal’s homepage:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/oct/08/bbc-link-guidelines
Science Is to Journalism As a Fish Is to a Bicycle by David Berreby on (2 Oct. 2010) – “the industry’s standards for “good journalism” aren’t compatible with the standards of good science”:  http://bigthink.com/ideas/24330
Bad Science Journalism And The Myth Of The Oppressed Underdog by Michael White (9 Mar. 2008) – “What gets lost is the scientific method, the idea that novel proposals need to be thoroughly vetted and tested, no matter how intuitively attractive they are.”:  http://www.science20.com/adaptive_complexity/bad_science_journalism_and_myth_oppressed_underdog
‘Gravity doesn’t exist’, says philosophically naive scientist/journalist by Michael (16 July 2010) – “the seeming philosophical niavity of both the journalist, and the physicist (assuming the physicist hasn’t been completely misquoted).”:   http://www.goodbadandbogus.com/bad-science/gravity-doesnt-exist-says-philosophically-naive-scientistjournalist/
Should journalists be writing about research that hasn’t undergone peer review? by Michael (9 Apr. 2010) – ” Should unpublished work be off-limits for science journalists? Does it depend on the subject matter? Does it depend on the credentials of the researchers?”:  http://www.goodbadandbogus.com/bad-science/should-journalists-report-on-unpublished-research/
Seconded by Landon Ross (15 June 2010) – “The UK media is playing with fire…”:  http://www.rationalape.com/2010/06/seconded.html
Shark reporting fail in my hometown newspaper by WhySharksMatter (16 July 2010) – “They’re sneaking up behind shrimping nets in swarms”:  http://www.southernfriedscience.com/?p=6408
Should science journalists take sides? by Ed Yong (23 Sept. 2010) – “The problem comes from a desire to be objective or neutral.”:  http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/09/23/should-science-journalists-take-sides/
A good week for UK science journalism (despite one big fail) by Ed Yong (29 June 2010) – “I’m still staring wide-eyed in disbelief over that, but a couple of noteworthy events today have lifted my spirits about the state of the country’s science journalism.”:  http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2010/06/09/a-good-week-for-uk-science-journalism-despite-one-big-fail/
Science Journalism Fail: Or, ARRRRGHHHH!!!111! by Michael Meadon (2 feb. 2010) – “How the hell Alleyne got from the paper to THAT conclusion is utterly beyond me”:  http://ionian-enchantment.blogspot.com/2010/02/telegraph-science-journalism-fail-or.html
Oil spill doomsday debunked. Did peer review journalism fail or succeed? by Ruth Suehle (14 July 2010) – “f the news hasn’t reached you, the world’s going to end in about six months”:   http://opensource.com/life/10/7/oil-spill-doomsday-debunked-did-peer-review-journalism-fail-or-succeed
“Idiocracy” introduction – the future of human evolution by Throck81 (18 Sept. 2009) – Evolution does not necessarily award intelligence – :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSROlfR7WTo
Neil Graham: Science journalists, don’t underestimate your audience by Neil Graham (14 Oct. 2010) – “why aren’t links to original research papers included in scientific news stories as a matter of course?”: http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2010/10/14/neil-graham-science-journalists-don’t-underestimate-your-audience/
Science and the Media by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2010) Pretty damning all round. Alan Alda?:  http://amacad.org/pdfs/scienceMedia.pdf
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About JFDerry

Writer. Darwin, science & more. 4 books: Piospheres, Darwin in Scotland, Serial Killers. Current project is THE DISSENT OF MAN. Born near London, raised near Primrose Hill and in Lincolnshire, and studied at the Universities of Bangor, York and Edinburgh for degrees in Biochemistry, Bioelectronics and Biological Computation, and a PhD in African Ecology. Mainly working in British and African universities, but also in Spain, Brussels, Mongolia and Australia, to date, publication history is mostly in academic journals, on aspects of computational biology, pastoralism and on Charles Darwin and evolution. However, also written for several national newspapers, various governments, several major record labels and independent book publishers. Fiction has appeared at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and poetry is at the Human Genre Project. Lives in Edinburgh, with partner and their two daughters.
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2 Responses to For the Record #1: Bad Science Journalism

  1. Michael says:

    Hey — thanks for the links. I’m glad you liked my writing. :-)

  2. JFDerry says:

    Hi Mikey, yes you have some good stuff over at Good, Bad and Bogus.

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