An idle thought on career diversification.

As you may know, I teach Science.

You may have noticed that I occasionally venture an opinion on science-related topics.

You may also have noticed that bad science, and the acceptance of anti-science tend to get on my nerves.

Part of the problem, of course, is the meeja - the majority of journalists have little or no science training, so they focus on the dramatic sound-bites when reporting stuff. Heck, these days the majority of journalists aren't even journalists - they're bloggers.

After the massive fuss I had to put up with at school over the LHC (destroying the world by sucking it into an exploding black hole then turning time backwards), I tried to find out where the kids got their panicky ideas from, and it turned out to be the tabloid press (the Star and the Sun, for UK readers).

Now, I could wait until the papers publish their bad headlines and write an annoyed letter, or I could be pro-active.

Do any of you guys think there is any mileage in setting myself up as a consulting service to the scientifically-illiterate news media?

I thought, maybe, offering "expert opinions" on scientific events to newspapers that don't have scientists on staff, or maybe a translation service, turning scientific papers and press-releases into something journalists can cope with.

Comments?

EDIT

I have emailed the main local newspapers, plus the BBC.

Let's see...

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Kiteman (author) 9 years ago
Original post edited.
Woah... the world could really use a guy like that. i too, find it annoying when people say stuff like that...
Goodhart9 years ago
Part of the problem, of course, is the meeja - the majority of journalists have little or no science training, so they focus on the dramatic sound-bites when reporting stuff. Heck, these days the majority of journalists aren't even journalists - they're bloggers.

I agree there. Some of the stuff I read or hear on the "News" that is supposed to be reported as fact and you wonder where their head was at when they participated in the interview (I have an opinion on that, but will keep that to myself).

One place to start might be at: the Peter Shankman site where being a member, you get to "inform" the reporters of things they are interested in (from specific requests). The Help a reporter site enrolls you in receiving emails about 3 times a day from Peter however listing the info needed.
Kiteman (author)  Goodhart9 years ago
I used to be registered there (I started a thread about it here!), but the emails stopped. I don't know why, they just stopped. Maybe I'm not expert enough?
Hmm, I haven't ever replied to one, but I still get the emails (and I remember now that you posted about that originally, as I applied that day). I don't know. They claim to only drop a person that spams thier reporters.... *shrug*
Kiteman (author)  Goodhart9 years ago
Ah, maybe I was over-eager.
Oh I wasn't accusing you of having sent ads or anything to their listed reporters....I just find it strange...maybe they are prejudiced against those outside the USA?
Goodhart9 years ago
I get the feeling that many associated with the media are actor and actress wannabes, and didn't pay much attention even in high school science class... :-)
We're all a bit bitter, aren't we? While I also have doubts about whether the media cares enough to report the real stuff, or whether people would actually listen... I think you should go for it! It wouldn't hurt to try. Though I have to admit I've heard hardly anything about the LHC where I live. No one seems to know it even happened or what it is. I've been hearing about it on NPR for months but I don't think the local media really caught on.
Kiteman (author)  jessyratfink9 years ago
Not bitter, annoyed at poor reporting. Another example today - a member of the Royal Society was reported as saying that Creationism should be taught in Science lessons, when what he actually said was that Science teachers should be prepared to discuss Creationism with students who raise it, and explain that Creationism has no basis in Science.
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