Science in Hollywood

A large proportion of people want to absorb a news story as fast as possible; then maybe investigate further after work. BBC news online often allows us to get the best chunks of an article presented to us using videos.


A recent talk by Rachel Kerr, a journalist with BBC news online in Newcastle, focused on the cinematic tactics used to present these videos. After looking at a few scientific examples, I found that none were too complex or too simple which, she explained, was to goal.


One of the videos I viewed was about breast cancer. In May 2013, actress Angelina Jolie admitted to having plastic surgery that could save her from breast cancer. The world’s media jumped on the story, triggering a surge of accessible scientific knowledge related to breast cancer and BRCA1. The first section of the video informs viewers of the basic knowledge covered in the article and, critically, remains very impartial. The substance of the video is an interview from a Cancer Research UK representative, where the facts are delivered as well as statistics. This is again very impartial. Finally, the last segment of the video briefly discusses the pro’s and cons on surgery, and gives other treatment options available in the UK.


Looking at the video with a scientific background, more information on the genes involved could have been included. Overall, however, the impartiality, and lack of criticism, towards Jolie’s choice was a refreshing way of turning a Hollywood story into a beneficial broadcast.

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