Science and Media Culture Clash

I read your editorial with interest,1 since most of my career as a journalist has been spent writing about scientific and technical topics. A few observations:1. Most scientists are elitist. They seem to feel that no one bereft of a PhD in their fields can possibly understand what they will say, so therefore they feel no obligation to simplify their presentations.2. Reporters want the who, what, where, when, why, and how. Note the order here. The why and how, which are the meat of the story for

Francis Hamit
Jun 6, 2004

I read your editorial with interest,1 since most of my career as a journalist has been spent writing about scientific and technical topics. A few observations:

1. Most scientists are elitist. They seem to feel that no one bereft of a PhD in their fields can possibly understand what they will say, so therefore they feel no obligation to simplify their presentations.

2. Reporters want the who, what, where, when, why, and how. Note the order here. The why and how, which are the meat of the story for a scientist, are last. The reporters want the other answers first, and then, if there is room, they will get to the complicated stuff. By "room," I mean the assigned story length; reporters could be forced to make a long story short.

Many of the complaints about reporters getting the story wrong revolve around how the story was told in...

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