Science Journalism
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Science Journalism
Writing and Communicating about Science
Curated by Gary Stevens
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Is Facebook killing meaningful communication?

Is Facebook killing meaningful communication? | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

Are worries that Facebook is killing meaningful communication well-founded? (Twitter / MartinShovel)

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UK considers tax on single-use plastics to tackle ocean pollution

UK considers tax on single-use plastics to tackle ocean pollution | Science Journalism | Scoop.it
Chancellor to announce call for evidence on possible measures to cut use of plastics such as takeaway cartons and packaging
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MP welcomes 'swift' BBC rebuke of presenter over climate sceptic tweet

MP welcomes 'swift' BBC rebuke of presenter over climate sceptic tweet | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

Adam Rutherford may have compromised BBC’s impartiality by criticising Labour MP Graham Stringer, a climate change sceptic, standards team says

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Deadly gene mutations removed from human embryos in landmark study

Deadly gene mutations removed from human embryos in landmark study | Science Journalism | Scoop.it
Groundbreaking project corrects faulty DNA linked to fatal heart condition and raises hopes for parents who risk passing on genetic diseases
Gary Stevens's insight:

"More work is needed to prove that gene editing would be safe to do in people, but even if it seems safe, scientists face major regulatory hurdles before clinical trials could start."

Here is another account of the same research: https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/4157083/genes-editor-to-eliminate-killer-mutations-in-babies/.

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Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

No seeds were lost but the ability of the rock vault to provide failsafe protection against all disasters is now threatened by climate change

Gary Stevens's insight:
There's a line about the seed vault being supposed to operate without the help of humans. I can't help wondering what they think is in store.
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Global warming scientists learn lessons from the pause that never was | Planet Oz

Global warming scientists learn lessons from the pause that never was | Planet Oz | Science Journalism | Scoop.it
New study finds there never was an unexpected lull in climate change but says the science community needs to communicate better
Gary Stevens's insight:
"So what to make of it all?
"The short version is that global warming didn’t stop, scientists knew global temperatures would wobble around and climate scientists aren’t always the best communicators.
"But also, to paraphrase Stefan Rahmstorf, climate sceptics are not really sceptics at all."
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Air pollution lawsuit set to go ahead despite delayed government plan

Air pollution lawsuit set to go ahead despite delayed government plan | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

Class action on behalf of asthma sufferers may still go ahead over repeated failure to tackle illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide

Gary Stevens's insight:
The government is due to publish its plans to tackle air pollution today, following a High Court ruling last week. Meanwhile, lawyers acting for asthma sufferers are considering further legal action.
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Slathering on sunscreen at the beach? It may be destroying coral reefs

Slathering on sunscreen at the beach? It may be destroying coral reefs | Science Journalism | Scoop.it
Studies show that oxybenzone, a common chemical found particularly in spray-on sunscreens, contributes to coral bleaching and leaves reefs deformed
Gary Stevens's insight:
Research suggests that it may not be climate change alone that is destroying coral reefs.
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No encounters: most ambitious alien search to date draws a blank

No encounters: most ambitious alien search to date draws a blank | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

Only intelligent signals Breakthrough Listen project detected in first year are from mobile phones and other Earthly devices

Gary Stevens's insight:

We are not alone. Or perhaps we are. Disappointing news for those of us who will soon be at a lecture-screening on Contact as part of a science communication session on science fiction. I wonder if someone should tell Jodi Foster.

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Media Masters | The Guardian's Science Correspondent, Hannah Devlin, is the guest on this week's podcast.

Media Masters | The Guardian's Science Correspondent, Hannah Devlin, is the guest on this week's podcast. | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

Podcast giving the inside view on what's happening in the media. Paul Blanchard talks to senior journalists, editors, and producers to discuss the hot media issues - shining a light on the news behind the news.

Gary Stevens's insight:
Interesting and insightful discussion (43 minutes) about working in the field of science journalism. Hannah Devlin "explains why she chose journalism over academic biomedicine; talks frankly about sexism in science; discusses her move from Science Editor at The Times, the differences of writing without a paywall, and her view that social media has fundamentally changed journalism."
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Science communication and engagement - Science and Technology Committee - House of Commons

There is a wide range of initiatives by organisations to increase public awareness of and engagement in science, including many encouraging projects aimed at children and young people which complement formal science learning. They all play a vital part in further building our ‘science capital’. However, further efforts are needed to change the long-standing cultural biases that pervade science.

Gary Stevens's insight:

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee

has published the results of its inquiry into the "current state of science communication and engagement; how Government, scientists, the media and others facilitate public awareness of and engagement in science; and the barriers that need to be overcome."

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How the media warp science: the case of the sensationalised satnav

How the media warp science: the case of the sensationalised satnav | Science Journalism | Scoop.it
The news said that satnavs shut down our brains, but the original research said nothing of the sort. How’d that happen?
Gary Stevens's insight:
Dean Burnett: "What was more fascinating, as someone who had the full details of both the study and how it was pitched, was how the different papers reported it. They all had exactly the same info and material, but presented it in revealingly different ways."
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BBC must now do for arts what it has done for science, says R4 culture boss

BBC must now do for arts what it has done for science, says R4 culture boss | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

 Science coverage has never had it so good

Gary Stevens's insight:
Arts and Culture need a helping hand on the BBC, it seems!
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Nasa map of Earth's seasons over 20 years highlights climate change

Nasa map of Earth's seasons over 20 years highlights climate change | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

The visualization shows spring coming earlier and the Arctic ice caps receding over time

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BBC apologises over interview with climate denier Lord Lawson

BBC apologises over interview with climate denier Lord Lawson | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

Exclusive: Lawson’s claim that global temperatures are not rising went unchallenged, breaching guidelines on accuracy and impartiality

Gary Stevens's insight:

BBC in hot water in climate change coverage.

Guardian report: <Bob Ward, the policy director of the Grantham research institute on climate change at the London School of Economics, welcomed the upholding of the complaint but said: “There needs to be a shift in BBC policy so that these news programmes value due accuracy as much as due impartiality. Al Gore: 'The rich have subverted all reason' Read more “As well as taking account of the rights of marginal voices like Lord Lawson to be heard, the BBC should also take account of the harm that its audiences can experience from the broadcast of inaccurate information,” said Ward.>

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Nuclear plans 'should be rethought after fall in offshore windfarm costs'

Nuclear plans 'should be rethought after fall in offshore windfarm costs' | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

Lib Dems and green groups say reduced price of state support should sound death knell for plants such as Hinkley Point C

Gary Stevens's insight:

"Experts said green energy had reached a tipping point in the UK after two windfarms secured a state-backed price for their output that was nearly half the level awarded last year to Britain’s first new nuclear power site in a generation, Hinkley Point C."


“The spectacular drop in the cost of offshore wind is extremely encouraging and shows the need for a radical reappraisal by government of the UK’s energy provision.” (Vince Cable)

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Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people

Climate change to cause humid heatwaves that will kill even healthy people | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

If warming is not tackled, levels of humid heat that can kill within hours will affect millions across south Asia within decades, analysis finds

Gary Stevens's insight:
Prof Chris Huntingford, at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said: “If given just one word to describe climate change, then ‘unfairness’ would be a good candidate. Raised levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are expected to cause deadly heatwaves for much of South Asia. Yet many of those living there will have contributed little to climate change.”
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38 million pieces of plastic waste found on uninhabited South Pacific island

38 million pieces of plastic waste found on uninhabited South Pacific island | Science Journalism | Scoop.it
Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn group, is covered by 18 tonnes of plastic – the highest density of anthropogenic debris recorded anywhere in the world
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Eat insects and fake meat to cut impact of livestock on the planet – study

Eat insects and fake meat to cut impact of livestock on the planet – study | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

Changes in diet are vital to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation caused by the world’s growing appetite for meat, say scientists

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Dinosaur click-bait: is getting your attention more important than getting it right? | Elsa Panciroli

Dinosaur click-bait: is getting your attention more important than getting it right? | Elsa Panciroli | Science Journalism | Scoop.it
Scientists can’t turn their backs on the engagement of mass-media, but when it comes to inaccurate and sensational headlines, do the ends justify the means?
Gary Stevens's insight:

Nice piece by a journalist outlining some of the problems we face in communicating about science and getting it right.


"Scientists spend years being trained to deploy the correct terminology and exacting language. Science requires attention to detail. Researchers strive to cull inaccuracy from their work – and spend a not inconsiderable portion of their time weeding out the mistakes of colleagues. Science is, to a large extent, self-correcting. The language used by researchers is exactly that: a scientific language. Journalists must take this and translate it for the public, the non-native speakers."

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Air pollution plan cannot be delayed, high court tells government

Air pollution plan cannot be delayed, high court tells government | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

Court rules that immediate publication is essential and rejects Defra’s plea to delay until after the general election

Gary Stevens's insight:

The high court has found that the government continues to be in breach of EU and domestic law and regulations for failing to outline its plans to tackle air pollution.


Government lawyers argued that election guidelines do not allow them to publish their draft policy before the forthcoming election.


But the judge has ruled that the so-called purdah principle "does not give ministers a defence to the principles of private and public law … It is not binding on the courts. It provides no immediate right for an extension of time to comply with an order of the court. It is not a trump card.”

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Receding glacier causes immense Canadian river to vanish in four days

Receding glacier causes immense Canadian river to vanish in four days | Science Journalism | Scoop.it
First ever observed case of ‘river piracy’ saw the Slims river vanish as intense glacier melt suddenly diverted its flow into another watercourse
Gary Stevens's insight:
Geologists studying the development say there's a 99.5% probability it's a result of anthropogenic climate change. That's pretty certain.
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Great Barrier Reef at 'terminal stage': scientists despair at latest coral bleaching data

Great Barrier Reef at 'terminal stage': scientists despair at latest coral bleaching data | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

‘Last year was bad enough, this is a disaster,’ says one expert as Australia Research Council finds fresh damage across 8,000km

Gary Stevens's insight:

"Mass bleaching – a phenomenon caused by global warming-induced rises to sea surface temperatures – has occurred on the reef four times in recorded history."


"The findings have caused alarm among scientists, who say the proximity of the 2016 and 2017 bleaching events is unprecedented for the reef, and will give damaged coral little chance to recover."

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Showcase’s Rules of Writing - Showcase

Showcase’s Rules of Writing - Showcase | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

In the likeness of Elmore Leonard's ten rules of writing, we have created out own set, built with the advice of Showcase's many wonderful writers.

Gary Stevens's insight:
From the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, some tips on improving your style. This appears on their Showcase, which "highlights award-winning science journalism. This site will celebrate excellence, honor and amplify the work of awards programs, and—most important—offer inspiration and insight to aspiring and early-career science writers. If you want to learn from the work of great science writers, this is a website built for you."
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'Extreme and unusual' climate trends continue after record 2016 - BBC News

'Extreme and unusual' climate trends continue after record 2016 - BBC News | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

The world continues to experience extreme climate trends after a record breaking 2016, says WMO.

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Newcastle University gets green light to create three-parent babies 

Newcastle University gets green light to create three-parent babies  | Science Journalism | Scoop.it

Britain's first three-parent babies on are the horizon after Newcastle University was given the green light to carry out IVF using the DNA of two women.

Gary Stevens's insight:
Will be interesting to look out for headlines across the different publications on this story, which has been surfacing on and off over the last year or so.
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