journalism

 

Why a TV Producer Created a Database for Finding Subject-Matter Experts

Posted 19 April 2016 by Matt Shipman

Editor’s Note: This is guest post by Stavros Rougas, a co-founder of Expertise Finder and a former producer at the Toronto-based current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin. I recently heard of Expertise Finder and wanted to learn more about it. I figured that the fastest way to learn about it was to get the founder to explain it to me. To be clear, I’m not endorsing Expertise Finder, and have not been compensated in any way for running... Read more

How U.S. Reporters Are Using Facebook, Twitter

Posted 8 April 2016 by Matt Shipman

Social media are used to connect with people and share information, so it is not surprising that reporters are using social media platforms in their work – connecting with sources and collecting information are fundamental aspects of journalism. A recent paper offers insights into how, and to what extent, newspaper journalists are using Facebook and Twitter in their reporting. The paper, “Tapping Into a New Stream of (Personal) Data: Assessing Journalists’ Different Use of Social Media,” was published online April... Read more

For (German) Journalism Sites, Comments Are Only Bad News

Posted 7 April 2016 by Matt Shipman

It’s not news that the comments sections of online news sites can be hot spots for sharing ill-informed views, ad hominem attacks, or just good old fashioned vituperation. A recent study out of Germany finds that online comments – even polite, well-reasoned ones – can also hurt the perceived quality of news stories. One reason this is worth noting is that people in the U.S. get a lot of their science news from online sources – and that number is... Read more

A (Podcast) Conversation About Science Communication and Outreach

Posted 22 March 2016 by Matt Shipman

Want to hear me talk about some of the nuts and bolts of science communication? Now’s your chance. In autumn of 2015, PLOS launched a podcast series called PLOScast. The podcasts include periodic “Research Reading” roundups, as well as interviews on issues ranging from the future of scientific collaboration to open access publishing. Episode 8, which went online recently, was a conversation between me and Elizabeth Seiver, a science communication researcher at PLOS. The conversation was, naturally enough, focused on... Read more

Working Toward a Tool to Help Us Understand How Misinformation Spreads Online

Posted 18 March 2016 by Matt Shipman

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people are often wrong on the internet. This can manifest itself in the form of conspiracy theories, inaccurate information related to breaking news, or misleading (or just plain wrong) information related to science and research. Sometimes inaccurate information is annoying, or even comical. Sometimes, however, inaccurate information can have serious consequences – such as online memes that mislead people about public health issues or when news reports say that an innocent person is... Read more

Why It Was So Mysterious: an Interview with Steve Silberman

Posted 29 February 2016 by Matt Shipman

Neurotribes is an ambitious book. It is, as Oliver Sacks describes it in the foreword, “a sweeping and penetrating history of [autism, Asperger’s syndrome and how those diagnoses are understood]. Grappling with such a sweeping topic is a challenge, especially when it is subject to public controversy. How does a science writer deal with readers whose fears have led them to discount science (as is the case with those who claim vaccines have caused an autism “epidemic”)? For author Steve... Read more

Checking in on Mosaic at the Two-Year Mark: an Interview with Editor Giles Newton

Posted 22 February 2016 by Matt Shipman

In March of 2014, the Wellcome Trust launched Mosaic, an online science magazine devoted to publishing long-form science journalism. At the time, I interviewed Mark Henderson, the trust’s head of communications, about his expectations for the fledgling publication. Now, almost two years and about a hundred stories later, it’s time to check back in. Has Mosaic lived up to expectations? And how has it evolved over time? To find out, I caught up with Giles Newton, Mosaic’s editor. Giles earned... Read more

Happy Birthday, SciCheck – How Was Your First Year?

Posted 29 January 2016 by Matt Shipman

On January 29 of 2015, FactCheck.org – the nonpartisan fact-checking site based at the Annenberg Public Policy Center – launched a new feature called SciCheck. At the time, Eugene Kiely, the director of FactCheck.org, said in a statement that SciCheck “will focus exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy.” I was curious about how SciCheck has done in its first year, so reached out to Dave Levitan, who was the primary... Read more

What Reporters Can Do to Work More Effectively With PIOs

Posted 21 December 2015 by Matt Shipman

Note: This post first appeared on the Association of Health Care Journalist’s Covering Health blog. There are a lot of posts and stories out there focused on how public information officers (PIOs) can work more effectively with journalists, or that highlight extremely bad pitches aimed at reporters. I’ve written a few of them myself. But there are also things that reporters can do to work more effectively with PIOs. You don’t see many posts about that. A couple years ago,... Read more

Reporters Are Having Trouble Reaching Government Researchers – and That’s a Problem

Posted 5 August 2015 by Matt Shipman

A new report is highlighting a problem that has been apparent to reporters – particularly science and federal policy reporters – for years: the federal government generally makes it tough for reporters to talk to government scientists about work that is important to the general public. Why This Matters Here’s why this is a big deal: science is absolutely essential to understanding many of the most pressing issues that our society faces today. For example, global climate change is affecting... Read more