Those of you who saw this last week might be interested to know that it has been followed up. It’s well worth reading this follow-up article too and the author makes some good points. I get to feel a bit smug at this point by noting he mentions several things that I have long railed against (though people might listed to him more than me).
However, one thing stands out as missing in his analysis which was featured heavily in the original parody. He makes no mention of the problem of ‘balance’ – getting the ‘side of the story’ from people who don’t have a side / evidence / understanding of the issue. Science journalism is about science, not fringe group / new age / tin-foil hat nonsense. They don’t get a say in what is or is not good science or what work should / should not be done and you giving them space does not make for balance, it makes for uninformed people spouting rubbish and being given credibility by you for asking them and quoting them in the first place.
This is a serious problem with the worst of science reporting. Even if this is not that common as I have described it, even searching for an antagonistic quote from another researcher doesn’t help matters. Sure not all science is great and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of scepticism over a new result, but couching every story as a controversy neither builds public confidence in anything about science nor gives an accurate picture of what the work means.
Anyway, that’s my 2c. Go and read the articles.
Oh and since it seems a good time to mention it, don’t forget the PPC on your way to SVP.