Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Saving Journalism, One LOLCat At A Time

I got sent this article today from a professor: Time for change in science journalism by John Rennie for the Guardian. Rennie is the former editor and chief of Scientific American, and currently blogs for PLoS (Public Library of Science) - which has a great blog network for those who are interested.

He makes an interesting argument that the way science journalism operates like breaking news journalism is inadequate. Having to write on deadline and keep up with what is new to oust the competition doesn't work when reporting on science topics because it doesn't leave enough time to report on new findings in the overall context of the field.

I appreciate his humor in the critique of what science journalism needs to improve, "My vehemence sprang not just from enthusiasm for the improvements possible through linking to primary sources, fostering dialogues with readers, incorporating multimedia and tapping the awesome power of LOLcats." Hilarious. But I also agree with his point.

Writers need time to thoroughly research a new science finding in order to craft stories that are unique and not just cookie cutter turn outs from press releases. Science journalists can do better, and having turned out some press release dependent fluff myself, I know that we can do better. If the comments on Rennie's article are any indication, there is an appetite for good science news, now we just need to step up to the plate.

We'll just have to be sure to fill up on inspiration from those lolcats first...