Saturday, October 07, 2006

On issues in the reporting of science stories by the press

Mike Shanahan of has an article in 443 Nature 392-393 which concerns reporting of science.

It includes discussion:

In Africa, local science is rarely publicised because scientists and reporters do not talk to one another.

Similarly in China, media relations are seen as low priority because most science-related policy decisions are made behind closed doors.

Brazilian journalists have problems finding news, since few research centres have press offices to publicise their findings.

Switching gears to the way science is reported in "developed" countries, we note the issues with the reporting in the press release by Nature of the embryonic stem cell work of ACT (now headquartered in Alameda, CA, tho work done in Worcester, MA).

Separately, on July 28, 2006, the journal Science ran a "news of the week" story which amounted to a promotional piece for the USPTO on proposed changes in rules governing continuing patent applications. An op-ed masqueraded as "news."

In an article about the July 28 "news" story, the Sept. 06 issue of JPTOS has at page 746 a footnote 11, which states in pertinent part:

The present author tried to submit a "letter to the editor" of Science to address the points outlined in the present article in JPTOS. The present author was told that Science stood by the accuracy of the July 28 article.


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