Saturday, October 27, 2012

Media Consumption: Round One

I've started curating some of my favorite cancer/science/communication articles and posts from the internet as a weekly project for my colleagues at work. Since everyone loves a good cross-post, I've decided to also share them here. This is not exactly (or really, not at all) a comprehensive list, it caters to my work writing on a cancer beat and there is only one pick in each category. Ed Yong's I've Got Your Missing Links Right Here and Bora and Khalil's picks on the SA Incubator are examples of very thoughtful and comprehensive weekly roundups of the best science writing. I suggest you check them out (I always do!) 

They do such a great job, it would be silly for me to try to emulate, so I'm not. Still, I do think it never hurts to promote articles and posts that you enjoyed so I'm still going to share my weekly picks. For this first week I went a little far back in time (all the way to August, ages ago, I know) to include two articles that I really thought were great. Going forward I'll choose only stories published in the previous week. 

Cancer Coverage Pick
“Study: Multivitamins May Lower Cancer Risk in Men” – Kevin Lomangino and Kathleen Fairfield for
I think we all saw the plethora of media coverage of the multivitamin/cancer risk study that came out last week. This is a really helpful breakdown of why the AP’s coverage of the study was spot on.

Scientific Study Pick
“Mars and the Science of Skipping Stones” – John Grotzinger for The New York Times
Written by the chief scientist for NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover project this is just a nice piece that I think breathes some life into a story that has been a story for years – the issue of finding evidence of running water on Mars.

Writing/Communication Pick
Even though this was posted a few weeks ago, it is my first writing/communication pick because being able to make heads or tails of a scientific report in a journal is a critical component for being an effective science writer. This is a nice primer on how to approach a scientific paper and start discerning the value it has.

Bonus Pick
“Big Med” – Atul Gawande for The New Yorker
This is from a few months ago, but it actually came up in a discussion I recently had so it has been on my mind again. Gawande (a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital) finds inspiration at the restaurant the Cheesecake Factory for how healthcare could be structured. The article is long, but worth reading.