So: I found another report on the AAAS panel from a week ago on science and the media. This one allows me to further quote myself, and thus do less actual work to explain what I think:
Chris Mooney — a widely published freelance science journalist who writes a blog — lamented the Internet’s fragmented nature and many Web writers’ cavalier attitude toward accuracy.
“If you care about science being part of the common culture in America, the kinds of trends were talking about are pretty disastrous,” Mooney said. “There’s no ‘Cosmos’ in science blogging,” he added, referring to the PBS science series that drew millions of viewers.
While many Web sites deal with science well, Mooney said, “polemicism” is more common than accuracy online, “especially in the blogosphere. The Web empowers good and bad alike. Misinformation not only competes with, but often defeats, good information.”
I wonder if it is studying history, and reading so many dead tree books this semester at Princeton, that has made me so crotchety? Hmmm.
But I stand by the point–I blog every day, and I’ll probably never quit. But I’m not convinced that science blogging reaches much beyond the already converted, the people who really least need to read it. And give that this is so, do ten science bloggers really serve as any replacement for one laid off major newspaper science reporter–or is it just impossible to even make the comparison?
And speaking of misinformation defeating good information on the web–well, just see this post about vaccines, and try to read all the comments…after which, I expect that if you’re anything like me, you’ll just shake your head.
Just to add to Sheril’s post–the “two cultures” conference was a huge success. And in saying as much, I’m not patting us on the back; rather I’m reflecting the overwhelming tenor of the enthused comments that we heard from those who attended the event.
Beyond our planning roles, our individual contributions on Saturday centered on moderating the two afternoon panels. However, we also had the opportunity to introduce the event itself–and decided that an Oscars-style skit providing a little comedy would be the way to go.
We didn’t know what we were getting into.
The NYAS Two Cultures conference exceeded my expectations… From E. O. Wilson to Dean Kamen, and everyone in between–including our audience–it was a wonderful event! There is so much I can’t wait to share with readers, but this morning I’m in a rush to the airport headed to Long Beach, California, where I’ll be contributing to a new ocean communication initiative. So while I’ll spend much of the day overhead and offline, I encourage you to check out the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies website where Director Mike Treder did a terrific job live-blogging every session:
Tremendous thanks to all who participated! And with that, I’m off to JFK, but expect lots more on Saturday at NYAS — including photos and video–coming soon…