Ed Yong, on his “Not Exactly Rocket Science” blog, advises on what science journalists are looking for when they come calling for independent perspectives. Of 8 things on that list, he leads with this:
Read his blog post to see the other seven.
He also lists what he doesn’t find useful, including:
He concludes: “Critical comments do carry personal risk, but they also help us to fight credulous and uncritical science reporting.”
The comments posted in response to his blog post are also worth reading.
On the Columbia Journalism Review Observatory blog, Curtis Brainard wrote:
“There is no shortage of advice for scientists on talking to journalists. Just look at the resources page provided by AAAS, the country’s largest general scientific society. There, among other titles, one can find classics such as:
- “A Scientist’s Guide to Talking with the Media: Practical Advice from the Union of Concerned Scientists”
- “Don’t Be Such a Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style”
- “Am I Making Myself Clear: A Scientist’s Guide to Talking to the Public”
They’re great books, with excellent tips, but the focus tends to be encouraging scientists to be proactive – how to publicize their research, garner media attention, and explain their work clearly. There are suggestions for reacting to media inquires as well, but they’re usually not the primary concern, and they’re often couched in terms of a researcher describing his or her own work.
Thankfully, Ed Yong, a freelance science reporter, has drafted a concise crib sheet for what might be the more likely scenario: what to do when a journalist calls asking about someone else’s work.”
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