[ASC-list] Was Negative connotations about journalists...now....what can ASC do to make science journalism better

JCribb jcribb at work.netspeed.com.au
Thu Dec 13 00:50:46 UTC 2012


Susan has a very good point about the need to train science communicators in
higher journalistic skills. 

There are several reasons why this is important:
1. in Australia at least, the media is in a phase of shedding its
professional science journalists. This is creating a significant opportunity
in good quality media for externally-written articles on science (mainly
opeds and features) both paid and unpaid.
2. On the internet in particular, the media release written by the science
communicator is increasingly getting a run, unchanged and unedited. It is
becoming the primary form by which science is reported to the wider public,
instead of just a means of alerting journalists. It therefore needs to be
objectively and well written, without puffery or exaggeration.
3. There is a strong demand for well written news articles and features by
magazines and professional journals who can't afford in-house science
writers. Science communicators can satisfy this, provided they can write
well.
4. It is usually necessary to persuade/negotiate/argue with scientists (and
sometimes management) in order to express their story in a form that will
interest, be readily understood and used by the public or industry. Science
communicators equipped with higher journalistic skills are better placed to
do this, which will improve the coverage and impact of the science.
(Mis)using science communicators as PR hacks will not - though not many
scientists appreciate this.

I make these points in support of our new president's expressed aim of
further professionalising our calling.

To the very grave problems now facing humanity on global and local scales,
science offers many possible solutions.  But they will not work if they are
not well communicated. 

Yes, science communicators can save the world!  But they need the skills to
do it effectively.

Julian Cribb FTSE
Julian Cribb & Associates
ph +61 (0)2 6242 8770 or 0418 639 245
www.sciencealert.com.au/jca.html
Skype: julian.cribb

If you EAT, you should follow: http://twitter.com/#!/ComingFamine


-----Original Message-----
From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au
[mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Susan Kirk
Sent: Thursday, 13 December 2012 10:57 AM
To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
Subject: [ASC-list] Was Negative connotations about
journalists...now....what can ASC do to make science journalism better

Hi all,

A few more points.  Developing relationships with journalists.  Yes please.
I have invited many scientists to 'keep me in the loop'  I never hear from
any of them.

Taping, be careful not legal in every state.

Magdeline has a good point about the follow up of media releases.  This is
true for every area of journalism. I think we all do this to some extent
though. And I think in some instances it's acceptable.

So yes we need to read the paper.  But herein lies one of the problems with
communicating science.  Its not enough to read the paper especially for a
layperson.  There will be a whole list of other papers to read.  Deadline
driven journalism does not have this luxury.  Neither is there the room
(word count) to allow for these other interpretations of the science.  As a
layperson I don't understand any of the methodology or the computational
data.  I rely on scientists to provide the explanations and a steep,
protracted learning.  Maybe I should get out of this game.

Some of these papers will be disputed by other scientists.  And while I have
asked the question about the peer review process and I understand it now.
I'm not confident that it does work.  After all one would assume to get
published in a peer review journal that the peer review would discover
errors before publication.  So whatever the conclusion of that paper is
should be the truth, at least for that point in time?  Am I still lost here?

Popular science seems to be the main outlet for most science writing.  By
that I mean there is little room for unpopular science, which by its
definition is usually more complex.  I think it's the investigative
journalism of science journalism.  We need to be communicating some of the
more controversial science or do we just turn a blind eye to its existence?

I also believe that ASC should be offering better professional development
for its members.   I would love to see some professional development in the
area of statistics, and I believe this is happening.  But also an
understanding of the methodology of science experiments, a basic science
glossary, a look in a lab, a list of some of the better science journals.  A
system similar to healthreview news which critiques the science writing,
maybe for members only :)

We should be using some of our knowledge to train science communicators as
well as the scientists. This could be the impetus for scientists and
journalists to start developing relationships and working together.  Lets
make science communication better.

S   


On 12/12/12 9:00 PM, "asc-list-request at lists.asc.asn.au"
<asc-list-request at lists.asc.asn.au> wrote:

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> 
>    1. Re: FW:  Negative connotations about journalists (Magdeline Lum)
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2012 08:52:12 +0800
> From: Magdeline Lum <m.lum at mac.com>
> To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] FW:  Negative connotations about journalists
> Message-ID: <022A0F66-0BEC-45CF-B4C4-7532FADF9F89 at mac.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; CHARSET=US-ASCII
> 
> Hi All,
> 
> I joined ASC as a scientist who communicates science through science 
> outreach, social media, blogging, citizen science and mainstream 
> media. Along the way I've become a science journalist. I see the 
> situation from both sides and at times it's surreal watching from the 
> outside especially when the discussion heads into assigning blame and name
calling.
> 
> As a journalist, I need to be able to sell the story to an editor. I 
> do get frustrated when a science journal article with an accompanying 
> press release that doesn't match the what the peer review research has 
> shown. I am noticing that media releases are being heavily relied upon
with little or no follow up.
> Here is a golden opportunity for scientists to step in and have a look 
> at what the media releases are saying because some of the spin starts 
> with media releases.
> 
> As a scientist, I get annoyed with colleagues who tell me to my face 
> that their research in the lab is far more important than the
communication of it.
> Science is research and communication. Never mind saying that there is 
> no point to doing science when no one else can understand it. The 
> situation is and always has been is that if no one else outside of the 
> laboratory cares about the research, it simply isn't a sustainable 
> activity. It's this point that isn't driven home to scientists in 
> their training or professional development and adds to the resentment of
the task of communication.
> 
> It's time that the blame attribution just stopped, especially within 
> ASC. If we're about communication, shouldn't we as members realise the 
> situation for what it is and go about rectifying it rather than citing 
> examples of journalistic mistakes made in various scientific fields? 
> I'm all for correcting mistakes but there is absolutely nothing to be 
> gained by dwelling on them. We should also be recognising that there 
> is headway being made in getting willing scientists and researchers to 
> communicate their own work themselves rather than a third party. One 
> obvious example of this is The Conversation.
> 
> 
> Magdeline Lum
> 
> 
> On 11/12/2012, at 1:59 PM, asc-list-request at lists.asc.asn.au wrote:
> 
>> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>> -
>> 
>> Message: 1
>> Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 05:49:04 +0000
>> From: "Van Tiel, Michael" <Michaelv at PHM.GOV.AU>
>> To: "asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au" <asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au>
>> Subject: [ASC-list] TEDx and bad science
>> Message-ID: <924B151B90AE2A4F8761B79A988BCFB607A03E at EX01.phm.gov.au>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
>> 
>> Hi All,
>> 
>> I was following this discussion on another list and thought it might 
>> be of interest.
>> 
>> I know there are a few ASC members who are TEDx presenters and 
>> involved in that community.
>> 
>> TEDx recently sent out an email regarding their view on bad 
>> science/pseudoscience talks at TEDx events.
>> 
>> You can read it here:
>> 
>> http://blog.tedx.com/post/37405280671/a-letter-to-the-tedx-community-
>> on-tedx-
>> and-bad-science
>> 
>> I think it provides a set of easy to understand guidelines for event 
>> organisers.
>> 
>> Something similar would make a good ASC fact sheet for the general
community!
>> 
>> Cheers
>> 
>> Michael
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> [cid:phmemailfooter8d0aec]Michael Van Tiel Actg. Manager, Family & 
>> Community Experiences Powerhouse Museum
>> 500 Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney, NSW 2007 Australia T +61 2 
>> 92170314 W http://www.powerhousemuseum.com
>> 
>> Disclaimer added by CodeTwo Exchange Rules 2010 
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>> ------------------------------
>> 
>> Message: 2
>> Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 16:59:48 +1100
>> From: Toss Gascoigne <director at tossgascoigne.com.au>
>> To: "JCribb" <jcribb at work.netspeed.com.au>
>> Cc: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] FW:  Negative connotations about journalists
>> Message-ID:
>> <15D185E7-94CF-473C-985A-36C8CACBD6FA at tossgascoigne.com.au>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"
>> 
>> Adding to Julian's point, the American Chemical Society told me a few 
>> years ago that the average paper they published was read by 5 people ?..
>> 
>> But responding to earlier comments: scientists who have some 
>> experience of journalists are much more comfortable working with them.
>> 
>> We (me and Jenni M) tested this in a study called Incentives and 
>> Impediments to Scientists Communicating through the Media  (published by
Sage in 1997).
>> We asked scientists what they thought about the media in a series of 
>> 14 focus groups.  There was also a questionnaire to scientists who 
>> had attended one of ten most recent Econnect Media Skills workshops.
>> 
>> The paper gave 7 findings, including number 4:  Scientists who have 
>> little or no media experience are more suspicious of the media and 
>> its motives than are scientists with media experience.
>> 
>> I reckon this finding from 15 years ago is still current today.
>> 
>> The contact with journalists does not need to be prolonged.  In a 
>> separate exercise and another paper some years later, we measured the 
>> change in the way scientists thought of journalists over two days: 
>> immediately before a media skills workshop, and immediately after.  
>> The test was simple - here's an extract from the paper:
>> 
>> Changing their minds about journalists Media skills workshop 
>> participants in Australia were asked to state their views of 
>> journalists.  A sheet with 12 words was distributed at the beginning 
>> of the workshop, and participants rated journalists on a one 
>> ("stingily agree" to seven ("strongly disagree") score for each word.
>> 
>> At the end of the workshop after they had intensive dealings with 
>> five different journalists, they were given an identical (but 
>> unmarked) sheet and asked to score the words again.  The sheet 
>> contained both positive and negative words:
>> 
>> Helpful
>> Reliable
>> Sensationalise
>> Trivialise
>> Thorough
>> Accurate
>> Distort
>> Superficial
>> Interested
>> Concerned
>> Unprincipled
>> Trustworthy
>> 
>> The views of the same 84 scientists as above were collated, and the
'before'
>> answers compared to the 'after'.  The results show participants 
>> changed their views of journalists over the course of the two-day 
>> workshop quite markedly, and were much more positive about journalists
after meeting them.
>> 
>> 
>> Scientists continue to enjoy the media skills workshops Econnect 
>> runs.  Part of the day looks at what can go wrong and why, and how it 
>> isn't always the fault of the journalist.  Participants learn to 
>> minimise the possibility of error by distilling their message into 
>> something clear and simple.  They also begin to appreciate that most 
>> journalists are interested in getting the clearest and most interesting
account of their work into publication.
>> 
>> Things can go wrong and some media does have an agenda, but that's 
>> another story ?.
>> 
>> Toss Gascoigne
>> 
>> ************
>> 
>> Toss Gascoigne and Associates
>> 56 Vasey Cres
>> CAMPBELL ACT 2612
>> 
>> P. 02 6249 7400
>> M. 0408 704 442
>> E. director at tossgascoigne.com.au
>> W. tossgascoigne.com.au
>> ************
>> Toss Gascoigne and Associates
>> 56 Vasey Cres
>> CAMPBELL ACT 2612
>> 
>> P. 02 6249 7400
>> M. 0408 704 442
>> E. director at tossgascoigne.com.au
>> W. tossgascoigne.com.au
>> Skype. tossgascoigne
>> 
>> ABN:  31 068 557 522
>> *************
>> 
>> On 11/12/2012, at 4:25 PM, JCribb wrote:
>> 
>>> Again, there seems to be a broad assumption emanating from science 
>>> (and, alas, some science communicators) that the media are all 
>>> tarred with the same brush of sensation and wilful distortion.
>>> 
>>> That?s like assuming all priests are paedophiles, all politicians 
>>> are corrupt, or all scientists are socially disadvantaged.
>>> 
>>> Over the years I have observed outstandingly accurate coverage of 
>>> scientific issues by the many professional, technical and special 
>>> interest magazines and papers that serve industries, sectors and 
>>> professions ? yet, despite reaching a key target audience that 
>>> adopts and uses the products of science, this is a component of the 
>>> media broadly ignored by science, usually on the flimsy pretext that ?I
don?t do media because the media get it wrong?.
>>> 
>>> Citing occasions where the media get it wrong serves no useful 
>>> purpose ? any more than listing the number of times science got it 
>>> wrong. It only entrenches fear and ignorance, and devalues the 
>>> science itself by ensuring it reaches fewer people and has less
beneficial impact.
>>> 
>>> One aim of our profession is to help the media to get it right ? and 
>>> that includes finding the right media outlets and the right 
>>> journalists. It includes training scientists in the many useful and 
>>> simple techniques that minimise the opportunities for a misreport.
>>> 
>>> Today it has been estimated that one scientific paper in every two 
>>> is not read by anyone other than those who wrote, reviewed and edited
it.
>>> 
>>> Half the world?s science is going down the toilet because so many 
>>> scientists are afraid to engage with the wider society via the media.
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Julian Cribb FTSE
>>> Julian Cribb & Associates
>>> ph +61 (0)2 6242 8770 or 0418 639 245 
>>> www.sciencealert.com.au/jca.html
>>> Skype: julian.cribb
>>> 
>>> If you EAT, you should follow: http://twitter.com/#!/ComingFamine
>>> 
>>> From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au 
>>> [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Phillip 
>>> Arena
>>> Sent: Tuesday, 11 December 2012 3:20 PM
>>> To: Jenni Metcalfe; asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>>> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] FW: Negative connotations about journalists
>>> 
>>> :)
>>> 
>>> Yes a very interesting topic indeed, but a can of worms nonetheless 
>>> and firstly, I will apologise if I offend anyone.
>>> 
>>> I've always had a good relationship with journalists, but this has 
>>> come about through a mutual understanding and of course it's 
>>> difficult to generalise as ultimately, there are journalists and there
are journalists.
>>> Am I incorrect in assuming that journalists do need to 'sell' their 
>>> stories (I'm avoiding the word 'sensationalism' here)? I have 
>>> colleagues and friends who are journalists and we do our best to 
>>> work together, however, from a journalistic point of view, much of 
>>> my work (in herpetology) has been considered too (let's say) 
>>> 'boring'. However, more recently (and as we
>>> speak) much of work has become very controversial (and therefore, 
>>> more attractive and easier to 'sell' to the media both locally and 
>>> internationally).
>>> 
>>> I can think of countless experiences with journalists, both positive 
>>> and negative and some that simply reflect the 'way things are'. 
>>> Here's an experience of the latter, I can remember from back in 1999.
>>> 
>>> At this time, our state government proposed a Regional Forest 
>>> Agreement that many of us (particularly scientists) did not agree 
>>> with. In our southwest, there was logging and where there was 
>>> logging, there were protesters. A journalist colleague told me that 
>>> although I had a clear perspective on things, she was not interested 
>>> in interviewing me because a) I knew what I was talking about and b) 
>>> I didn't look like a 'greenie' (which I always have been!). She was 
>>> more interested in interviewing the 'radical' protesters who were 
>>> spiking trees (hammering nails in trees earmarked for logging) and 
>>> the pro-loggers who were drinking in the local pub and talking about 
>>> how they were going to "kick the @#$# out of the hippies". She was 
>>> reiterating the fact that her priority was to sell papers. These
comments put things in perspective for me - the more controversial, the
better.
>>> 
>>> Journalists have a job, just as the rest of us and from my 
>>> experience, I will always value my research much higher than my
audience.
>>> 
>>> As for deliberately distorting stories, it's unfortunate that we're 
>>> most likely to remember the times when this has happened. For 
>>> example (sorry, herpetology again!) there was a case of a boy being 
>>> bitten by his pet python in the USA that was reported by numerous
newspapers of different 'calibre'.
>>> I used this example many years ago when teaching science 
>>> communication. Each paper put its own slant to the same story. For 
>>> example, the most reputable broadsheet reported the boy to have been 
>>> accidentally bitten by his snake on his face while feeding it; he 
>>> was treated for a minor scratches etc etc. The other extreme 
>>> 'tabloid'-like publication reported something like "a boy was savagely
attacked by a python ....covered in blood.....almost lost an eye"
>>> etc.  At the time, I followed the story up in person and found the 
>>> who incident to have been very and almost laughably minor.
>>> 
>>> This is a wonderful teaching tool - find and analyse how a single 
>>> topic/incident is reported by different media.
>>> 
>>> So yes, from my experience, I have witnessed both sensationalism and 
>>> distortion and would I be vehemently incorrect in saying that for 
>>> many scientists, there is a correlation between the nature of the 
>>> publication/audience and the creative strokes of the pen?
>>> 
>>> Phil
>>> 
>>> 
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au on behalf of Jenni Metcalfe
>>> Sent: Tue 12/11/2012 10:46 AM
>>> To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>>> Subject: [ASC-list]  FW:  Negative connotations about journalists
>>> 
>>> What an interesting dialogue...
>>> 
>>> After training scientists to use the media for more than 20 years
>>> (http://www.econnect.com.au/workshops/talking-science-with-the-media
>>> /) and after working as a science communicator for more than 23 
>>> years now (yep, getting be an old cranky bugger), I would have to 
>>> say that many scientists I have worked with have found working with 
>>> journalists a generally very positive experience.
>>> 
>>> We always have 3 working journalists participate in our workshops 
>>> (and in the old days of 2-day workshops, we had 5) and the 
>>> scientists participating invariably cite the journalists involvement 
>>> in the workshops as the highlight of the workshop.
>>> 
>>> In our discussions with the journalists, we often ask how important 
>>> it is for them to 'get it right', and they are invariably affronted 
>>> by the question... and stress the many ways they do try to get 
>>> things right, especially with science and technical stories.
>>> 
>>> Unfortunately, a myth perpetuates about journalists - that they are 
>>> sensationalist and deliberately distort stories. The interaction 
>>> that scientists have with journalists in our workshops goes a 
>>> significant way to proving this myth wrong!
>>> 
>>> Cheers
>>> 
>>> Jenni Metcalfe
>>> Director, Econnect Communication
>>> www.econnect.com.au
>>> phone: 07 3846 7111; 0408 551 866
>>> jenni at econnect.com.au
>>> skype: jenni.metcalfe
>>> PO Box 734 South Brisbane Q 4101
>>> subscribe to Econnect's free monthly e-newsletter:
>>> http://www.econnect.com.au/news_newsletter.htm
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au 
>>> [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Niall Byrne
>>> Sent: Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:59 AM
>>> To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>>> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] FW: Negative connotations about journalists
>>> 
>>> I think Julian's nailed it.
>>> 
>>> The ASC was founded by journalists AND communicators. And the ASC 
>>> hosted the World Conference of Science Journalists. But the number 
>>> of journalists who are members of the ASC has declined over the 
>>> years, and not just because of the challenges in the media world.
>>> 
>>> We, the ASC, should want to engage with and recruit journalists to 
>>> our membership. So best if we don't treat them with contempt.
>>> 
>>> Niall
>>> 
>>> ________
>>> 
>>> Niall Byrne
>>> 
>>> Creative Director
>>> Science in Public
>>> 82 Hudsons Road, Spotswood VIC 3015
>>> PO Box 2076 Spotswood VIC 3015
>>> 03 9398 1416, 0417 131 977
>>> 
>>> niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
>>> Twitter scienceinpublic
>>> Full contact details at www.scienceinpublic.com.au
>>> 
>>> 
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au 
>>> [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of JCribb
>>> Sent: Tuesday, 11 December 2012 12:19 PM
>>> To: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au
>>> Subject: [ASC-list] FW: Negative connotations about journalists
>>> 
>>> Charles et al.
>>> 
>>> Most scientists in my experience are afraid of the media because 
>>> they do not understand it, and that is because they seldom read 
>>> newspapers, magazines, watch commercial TV etc. We all fear the 
>>> unknown - but it isn't necessarily rational to do so. Overcoming 
>>> that fear is a fundamental role for science communicators as 95 per 
>>> cent of society gets >100% of the science it picks up in a lifetime from
the media. Not from scientists. Not from the journals.
>>> Not from science teachers.  From the media.
>>> 
>>> So to pander to scientists' fear of the media is basically to give 
>>> up on the primary task of science communication.
>>> 
>>> Let us take the list of complaints of your non-troll linguist:
>>> - was he misquoted because the journalist deliberately wanted to 
>>> misquote  - or, being a linguist, because he used language that was 
>>> too highfalutin for the journalist to understand?
>>> - did he give the journalist a plain-language, written summary of 
>>> his comments - or rely on the accuracy of the journalists 
>>> memory/shorthand/recording? If no text was provided, then fault for 
>>> the misquotation lies with the 'expert' for being careless, 
>>> thoughtless or unprepared.
>>> - did he offer to check his quotes in the story?
>>> - did he bother to find out what the journalist thought the story 
>>> was about, and so establish his own role in it - which he could then 
>>> easily have declined if he felt there was a risk of being
misrepresented.
>>> - was he selective about which journalists and media he spoke with 
>>> in the first place? Being unselective about journalists is like 
>>> being unselective about restaurants - you won't get the same service 
>>> at a chicken house as you get at a 5-star. Again, is the poor media 
>>> coverage the result of a lack of forethought and discrimination, and 
>>> a failure to appreciate the widely varied nature of the media?
>>> - "they change it": this is a classic generalisation by those who 
>>> hate the media. And like all generalisations it falls way short of 
>>> the truth. Many media, especially the quality media and industry 
>>> media, and especially individual journalists who live up to their 
>>> code of ethics, take pride in trying to be accurate.
>>> - not sure who the 'fact checkers' are, as they broadly don't exist 
>>> in Australia and are a feature of American journalism. But in any 
>>> case why would they act dishonestly? Why be cowed by a publisher 
>>> whose reputation rests on their work? Who are the 'writers' in this 
>>> scenario? Blaming the Australian media for what happens in America seems
a bit unreasonable.
>>> 
>>> Sure we all have horror stories to relate, but in research we did 
>>> when I was at CSIRO, we found that 85 per cent of scientists who had 
>>> never had 'media experiences', dreaded them and were convinced they 
>>> would go badly wrong, to the detriment of their careers.  When we 
>>> surveyed scientists who had done a fair bit of media, 85 per cent 
>>> told us they experience was satisfactory, fine, excellent, reinforcing,
helpful etc.
>>> 
>>> Of those who had had a bad experience, roughly half were inclined to 
>>> write it off to experience, learn the lessons and develop techniques 
>>> for avoiding the situation in future. Of the remaining 7%, we should 
>>> probably never have let them near the media in the first place, as 
>>> some people just don't get on with it, are gun-shy or don't understand
its role in society.
>>> 
>>> Another issue I encountered at The Australia was that, after I had 
>>> done all I could to make my story accurate (including checking the 
>>> copy with the scientists, which I often did) some subeditor or 
>>> editor may then change it without referring to me. Very 
>>> embarrassing. This was a problem on that paper at that time - my 
>>> colleagues on The Age, SMH and AFR, on the other hand, ALWAYS 
>>> received a call from their subs, if they were going to change or cut 
>>> their copy. And this is often happening, remember, with deadline 
>>> minutes away. The point of the tale is to say "don't blame the 
>>> journalist" - there are usually about 10 other editors who look at and
may change his/her copy on its way into the paper. And there are similar
flaws in the TV process.
>>> But again, good media make big efforts to get it right.
>>> 
>>> This is all basic stuff many of us teach in media courses.
>>> 
>>> Finally, there are over 4000 media in Australia - and they vary 
>>> enormously from one another. To say things like 'they media always 
>>> get it wrong' is just plain senseless. There are many, many media 
>>> (most of which science never uses at all) who will report science 
>>> accurately, truthfully, interestingly and even re-run the approved
science media releases verbatim.
>>> Bagging 'the media' does these people a grave disservice for the 
>>> work they do in transferring scientific knowledge to society.
>>> 
>>> The point is, media coverage does not have to be a disaster - and it 
>>> can be highly valuable in terms of increasing the 
>>> impact/adoption/uptake or commercialisation of the science. Like 
>>> most things, it just has to be managed with a bit of insight, knowledge
- and experience.
>>> 
>>> Best regards
>>> 
>>> Julian
>>> 
>>> Julian Cribb FTSE
>>> Julian Cribb & Associates
>>> ph +61 (0)2 6242 8770 or 0418 639 245 
>>> www.sciencealert.com.au/jca.html
>>> Skype: julian.cribb
>>> 
>>> If you EAT, you should follow: http://twitter.com/#!/ComingFamine
>>> 
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au 
>>> [mailto:asc-list-bounces at lists.asc.asn.au] On Behalf Of Charles 
>>> Willock
>>> Sent: Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:17 AM
>>> To: Susan Kirk
>>> Cc: asc-list at lists.asc.asn.au; Charles Willock
>>> Subject: Re: [ASC-list] Negative connotations about journalists
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Hi Susan,
>>> 
>>>  Its been an interesting week ... and its only Tuesday.
>>> 
>>>  Yesterday, I received a message via a heavyweight linguistics  list 
>>> with a blistering negative appraisal by someone who is  (he asserts) 
>>> regularly poorly treated by journalists,  producers and the media.
>>> 
>>>  This wasn't the opinion of a ratbag, stirrer, troll on a half  
>>> baked list, ... this was from one of an elite group of linguists  at 
>>> one of the top US universities.
>>> 
>>>  His appraisal went considerably further than the words you are  
>>> concerned about.
>>> 
>>>  While I'm not at liberty to reproduce his mail here, a quick  
>>> summary might be useful.
>>> 
>>>     o.  he was misquoted
>>>     o.  journalists gathered items to support their own agenda
>>>         dropping key items which didn't
>>>     o.  if the contribution didn't fit their story they
>>>         change it [!!!] to do so
>>>     o.  fact checkers acting dishonestly, cowed by publishers
>>>         supported by writers
>>> 
>>> 
>>>  There were negative remarks by others on that list too.
>>> 
>>>  To my mind, the sentence you quoted does a good job of  expressing 
>>> how many scientists think about journalists.
>>>  Yes, those scientists might well benefit from a better  
>>> understanding of the constraints of the media ...
>>> 
>>>  ... but adopting a strategy of avoiding, or misrepresenting  those 
>>> perspectives would seem to be doing exactly what those  individuals 
>>> are concerned/angry about.  Not PR spin, but  Agenda spin.
>>> 
>>>  There is a further point.  In advertising, identifying the key  
>>> issue for the reader is an effective (according to testing)  means 
>>> of "selection" [ie getting people to read the bulk of your  advert].  
>>> And, that works despite the copywriter's or readers  feelings of 
>>> queeziness about an issue.  Eg an advert with a  headline "Do you 
>>> have a smelly dog" is likely to attract many  more readers whose dog 
>>> smells, than a headline like "Are you  still friends with your dog" 
>>> or "Do you love your dog today".
>>> 
>>>  One possibility is to consider the statement as useful  feedback 
>>> and with that as a guide address the underlying  issues.
>>> 
>>>  That way, in the long term, your dog will smell good, your  
>>> communications will be sweet, and everyone will have a joyous  time 
>>> of the year.
>>> 
>>>  Hmmm ...
>>> 
>>> 
>>> :-)
>>> Charlesw
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 08:30:06AM +1000, Susan Kirk wrote:
>>>> "Do you want to be able to deal with the media but too worried 
>>>> about them twisting your words or saying something negative about 
>>>> your
>>> research?"
>>>> 
>>>> Imagine my surprise to see this headline on the ASC website?
>>>> 
>>>> I'm sure as communication specialists we should be able to find a 
>>>> way to rephrase this sentence so that it's more positive of the 
>>>> people that support its foundations.
>>>> 
>>>> S
>>>> 
>>>> Susan Kirk   B.comm  freelance Journalist
>>>> Member and Queensland Web Editor -  Australian Science 
>>>> Communicators
>>>> (ASC) Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) & Horticultural 
>>>> Media Association (Qld)  (HMAQ)
>>>> tel: +61 7 5478 6761 | mobile: 0423342867 | email:
>>>> susan at susankirk.com.au www.susankirk.com.au |  Skype: susanakirk |
>>>> Tweet: susanakirk
>>>> 
>>>> ?If you don?t ask the right questions you won?t get the right 
>>>> answers.?
>>>> 
>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>> Ite
>>>> mid=115
>>> 
>>>      "Creativity and innovation are measured not by what is done,
>>>           but by what could have been done ... but wasn't"
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Disclaimer: http://www.eng.unsw.edu.au/emaildis.htm
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> Charles Willock                                 charlesw at cse.unsw.edu.au
>>> c/- School of Computer Science and Engineering University of New 
>>> South Wales,
>>> New South Wales  Australia  2052    http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~charlesw
>>> 
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