Thursday, December 11, 2008

Reporting is expensive

John Gapper writes:

As Mr Keller [of the New York Times] says, reporting is expensive. It requires someone to get on the phone, gather information, balance conflicting views of what has just occurred, and present the result. Papers have done this basic work for cities and states for so long that we take it for granted.

As a side comment, IPBiz notes that scientific and legal "reporting" is done primarily by "authors" who are not paid in their status as authors. Scientists and legal writers gather information and present results to journals without being paid a dime. The journals may generate revenue, but they don't return it to authors.

Separately, Gapper notes "not-for-profits" in the news area: MinnPost is among a new breed of non-profit sites, including Voice of San Diego and ProPublica, which are trying to fill the gap left by the decline of city papers. MinnPost employs six editors and pays freelances to write. IPBiz notes that the journal Nature receives submissions from scientists AND (separately) pays freelancers such as Eugenie Reich, whose reporting on "bubble fusion" may not have balanced conflicting views. Similarly, while the reporting of Terri Somers in San Diego on stem cells and Proposition 71/CIRM covers matters that simply are not reported by other papers, Somers does not report on conflicting views, much less balance them.

Also, note that journals as Science and Nature are effectively competing to publish "hot" research articles. This reality became clear in the research fraud matters of Jan Hendrik Schon and Hwang Woo Suk. Separately, for example, the recent cyanobacteria story had been submitted to Nature BEFORE it was submitted (and published) at Science.

***On cyanobacteria

GreenShift Receives Grant for Algae Bioreactor Technology


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