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Editorial Narratives in Science Journalism

January 1, 2018

Watts Up With That?

Guest Essay by Kip Hansen

effect_smScience journalism is hard to get right. There is the constant struggle to clearly explain one’s topic without over-simplifying or misrepresenting by dumbing-down the details in hopes of communicating better and on the opposite side, explaining the topic in far too great an esoteric technical detail and far above the general understanding of one’s readers.  There have been very few really effective science journalists — and most of them have erred a bit to one side or other of the line between correct science and a “popular science” version of reality.

In the last century or so, there has developed a new problem in science communications and science journalism.  It is the Editorial Narrative — the overriding mandated “story” (an uber-story or story-line) set by the editor or editors of a newspaper, magazine, news outlet or scientific journal.

One might be tempted to think that…

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