We're Going to Be in 'The Best American Science Writing 2010'

By The Intersection | April 5, 2010 9:54 am

We are pleased to announce that a recent co-authored article we wrote has been chosen to appear in The Best American Science Writing 2010, edited by the New Yorker‘s Jerome Groopman and Jesse Cohen.  Our piece, entitled Unpopular Science, originally ran in The Nation last July. It was our documentation of the death of science journalism, and the failure of science on the web to fill the gap, and we are honored to have it featured among the year’s collected essays. Here’s an excerpt:

In light of the media upheaval, scientists can no longer assume that a responsible, high-minded press will treat their ideas with the seriousness they deserve, delivering them to policy-makers and the public for sober consideration. Instead, partisan media will convey diametrically opposed versions of where science actually stands on any contentious subject–consider, for example, the difference between how Fox News and NPR cover climate change–even as most of the public (and many policy-makers) will tune out science more or less completely, besieged by other information options.

That’s the media reality we live with, and facing it head-on is necessary not only for scientists but for everyone who cares about the impact of science and good information on public policy. We must stop assuming today’s media will dutifully carry the best and most reliable knowledge to policy-makers and the American public. Rather, it falls to us to shift gears and carry that knowledge to the entirety of the remaining media, and well beyond. In the latter endeavor, we may have to create media of our own.

The 2010 anthology arrives in September and you can pre-order your copy through Amazon here.

Comments (12)

  1. Congratulations on the selection. It is, unfortunately, no substitute for the real science journalism. You were writing for all of us as you documented this embarrassment of unconcern.

  2. David

    Congratulations!

  3. David

    Wes:

    I disagree. This is real science journalism. No, it is not bare fact reporting. No, it is not hard news with hard facts and body counts. This blog. It is about Chis’s and Sheril’s opinion about science stories and a commentary on them. The old opinion piece type stories for traditional media are just about dead. Welcome to a new form of journalism. Interactive editorial opinion.

    The whole point is to create a forum for open debate and to present opinions on science topics. I don’t agree with many of the author’s stances on topics. What a boring world it would be if everyone agreed on everything. They present their take on the current topics and I either read and go on or I take a few minutes to put in my equally important opinion.

    We are not taking on the stories and providing scientific data to counter or support the science but discussing the philosophy behind them. Science is not just data. It is philosophy, ethics, and oh so much more.

  4. Mel

    Good job, Congratulations!

  5. Elena Strange

    Nice! Good job, guys.

  6. Dark tent

    Instead, partisan media will convey diametrically opposed versions of where science actually stands on any contentious subject–consider, for example, the difference between how Fox News and NPR cover climate change”

    It’s not just a war between opposite sides of a partisan media that is of concern.

    Individual media outlets (like NPR) need to take a very critical look at their (false) assumption that there are two sides to every scientific issue and that every scientific finding must be “balanced” with a “contrary” view — ie, by giving equal time to someone (anyone) who does not “buy” the science.

    And most importantly, the media needs to drop their utterly ridiculous operating assumption that the scientific truth on any given subject always lies in the “middle” — between the extremes on “right” and “left”.

    It’s the old idea that “if I am angering people on both sides, I must be doing something right” and it has no basis in scientific reality.

    “We must stop assuming today’s media will dutifully carry the best and most reliable knowledge to policy-makers and the American public.”

    Yes indeed. Journalists as the Noble “purveyors of knowledge”, the “conduits of wisdom” as it were (*in the sense of “Noble” gases that do not react with what they come in contact with)

    Cracks me up. It seems that the ones who are most guilty of perpetuating this ridiculous myth are actually journalists themselves who have a very distorted (and overinflated) opinion of themselves: particularly of their own ability to act as “completely unbiased observers”.

    On science issues especially, many of these “journalists” seem to equate “ignorance” (their own) with “impartiality.” The operating assumption seems to be “the less i know about this issue, the better. Knowledge will only bias me”.

  7. R33

    Mooney, you clearly have a messiah complex.

  8. Linda

    ANOTHER DESERVED RECOGNITION…..
    WELL DONE

  9. SLC
  10. Susan

    Congrats, Chris and Sheril! What a team.

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