For a science establishment… Because it is, and some science boffins often want it that way:
FOR ERIN ZIMMERMAN, a plant molecular biologist turned freelance science writer living in Ontario, Canada, a recent plant science conference presented a rare opportunity to meet scientists working in the field and to gin up some story ideas. “It’s unusual for a conference in my niche to be within a day’s driving distance, so I was really excited to be going,” she said.
But she hit a roadblock. The conference organizer would only grant her a press pass if she allowed researchers she reported on, along with the conference committee, to review anything she wrote. Such an agreement would “run contrary to the editorial policy of most reputable outlets,” she emailed back, copying the department head and university press office. For reinforcement, she linked to a 2018 Nature article explaining norms for scientists’ interactions with the press.
It was to no avail. In a series of haranguing emails, the older scientist dismissed journalistic standards, slammed scientific publishers like Nature, and criticized Zimmerman’s own work — including a story written for Undark.Teresa Carr, “Revisiting the Role of the Science Journalist” at Undark
Wow. That was some big bee that guy had in his bonnet. The article goes on to talk about the woes of science writing generally in an age of massive disruption.
Two thoughts: The biggest temptation for science journalists is to be cheerleaders instead of thoughtful and constructive critics. Everybody loves the cheerleader; the critic, however kindly and well-meaning, well — is just not loved so much. So one must be willing to be unpopular at times.
Also, a thoughtful science critic, like a thoughtful drama critic, must work from a point of view. And developing a point of view takes time, effort, research, and exposure. By definition, not everyone will agree with it. That’s what happens when you proceed from developed principles. But at least you have a basis for what you are saying that goes beyond “Well I like this!” or “Those people suck!” – O’Leary for News
Hat tip: Pos-darwinista
See also: Science Journalist Confronts Evolutionary Theorist With Hard Questions At His Book Talk (Suzan Mazur had some questions for David Sloan Wilson)
Science writer John Horgan still doubts cosmic inflation (Horgan has been more willing than many to make independent assessments)
Scientific American may be owned by Nature but it is run by Twitter This is the sad tale of a Science journalist who seems not to have guessed a complex unwritten rule.
Follow UD News at Twitter!