Dumbing down science

For me, the session by Rachel Kerr was very revealing and made me realize how science is conveyed in the media.

The 3 BBC stories we were shown were great examples of how science is commonly ‘dumbed down’ in the media.

I see this as necessary to communicate the story to the general public, most of who are non-scientists. However this may potentially offend other scientists.

Rachel mentioned how most journalists writing about science have no science background. Although this might make it easier for them to write in a way the public would understand, could it make them over-simplify science and perhaps miss out key points? This article by Ben Goldacre discusses how science in the media can often be simplistic and sometimes wrong.

Do you think it should be a necessity to have a science-based degree to write about science in the media? Relating to this question, you might find the fourth paragraph of this article interesting.

Also, Rachel mentioned how stories for TV are prepared for days, however sometimes a story online is published within 5 minutes before news reaches competitors such as twitter etc. This made me think that perhaps mistakes are more prone online, which made me question does where you get your news from matter? I’d like to hope not as I get my news online! This blog by David Levy provides striking evidence about the different sources of news.

Do you think news on the TV is more reliable than other sources?

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3 Responses to Dumbing down science

  1. vanarm says:

    Good question to end on there. I do think I believe BBC news more than other sources. Do you believe what your read in the Daily Mirror versus The Times? or do they just have different spins? Is the digital age of benefit to good acurate news broadcasting or is it a foe? Sorry have raised evn more questions!

  2. leahdey says:

    I agree, if I had to choose I think the BBC would be the most reliable source, sources such as the daily mail and daily mirror seem to get more criticism in my opinion. In response to your last question… I don’t know! This is exactly what I have been wondering, should we go back to modern ways of classic Newspapers/Television News, or are the other forms just as reliable? Just reading news online I often see ‘typos’ which doesn’t look very good to say the least!

  3. juliarosencl says:

    Its great that your blog asks lots of questions to make the reader think about what your saying. The links are really handy but maybe you could try and encourperate them a bit better to help the writing flow

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