Do your bit, broaden your science menu

Featured image credit: Hans/pixabay

Don’t judge the best science journalists in India after having read only the worst science journalism.

Auditing science stories: Two examples from the bottom rungs

The Green Bank radio telescope, West Virginia. Credit: NRAO/AUI, CC BY 3.0

The worst kinds of science stories are those that get facts wrong – and then those that report null results wrong.

The worst poem ever

Thinking ape. Credit: Pixel-mixer/pixabay

I’m just a lousy science journalist, writing the worst poem ever.

Establishing trust across the aisle on issues of climate change

An image from a shipborne NASA investigation to study how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the ocean's chemistry and ecosystems. Credit: gsfc/Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Making people anxious even to ask honest questions, and robbing them of the opportunity to respectfully disagree, isn’t good for science.

The metaphorical transparency of responsible media

Credit: dryfish/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

We in India often complain about how the media doesn’t care enough to cover science stories. But when we’re looking back and forward in time, we become blind to the media’s efforts.

The nomenclature of uncertainty

Credit: bongonian/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Many science articles in the past year dealt with observations falling short of the evidence threshold but which have been worth writing about simply because of the desperation behind them. Has this prompted science writers to think about the language they use?

TIFR’s superconductor discovery: Where are the reports?

The Meissner effect: a magnet levitating above a superconductor. Credit: Mai-Linh Doan/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Most news publications in India didn’t report on an exciting and significant discovery made by physicists from TIFR, Mumbai. Why not?

UCal Irvine’s ‘fifth force’ farce

If a journalist buys into a UCI press release about some kind of ‘confirmation’ of a fifth force, and which is subsequently found to be simply false, an editor wouldn’t be faced with a tough choice whatsoever about which section she has to axe.

‘Infinite in All Directions’, a science newsletter

Credit: taymazvalley/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The idea for the newsletter is a derivative of a reading challenge a friend proposed: wherein a group of us would recommend books for each other to read, especially titles that we might not come upon by ourselves.

Curious Bends – outraged warriors, bizarre obsessions, dubious drugs and more

It’s been one year since we launched Curious Bends – a newsletter where we bring you science, technology, data and India stories from around the web, once a week (subscribe). We’ve enjoyed serving you important and interesting stories. Thank you for being loyal subscribers! Anniversaries are a good time to reflect. Help us do that and improve what we do by taking this two-minute survey. We respect your privacy, so the option to tell us who you are is up to you (but we’d LOVE to know). Starting this week, the newsletter… Read More

Science journalism as an institutional undertaking

“The paper has been through many financial crises and Science Times has not been affected.” These were the words of David Corcoran, Editor, NYT Science Times, who’d dropped by my NYU SHERP class today for a short presentation and some Q&A. David said that in response to the question “How easy or difficult is it to make money off the science section on and the newspaper?” that I’d asked him. His reply in full went like this: Not something the Times has been worried out. Going back to 1978 [when Science… Read More

Beat-sculpting, money-making and science journalism

Today, my class had two guests. Malcolm Ritter, whose Twitter profile reads “Associated Press science reporter”, is not just any science reporter. He’s been covering science for AP for over 30 years now. While Dan Fagin said Ritter’s journey through journalism might not be relevant to our class considering he made a name for himself before the new media wave swept through, Ritter’s answers to our questions revealed a skills set brilliantly honed by three decades of reporting. Our second guest was Andrea Thompson, a senior science writer at Climate Central and an alumnus of the program she was… Read More