Blogging Supplanting Science Journalism

This semester’s first blog issue has an interesting article on scientific blogging. Geoff Brumfiel asks whether science blogging will replace a declining scientific journalism. Most research science papers or just communicating science to the public were done through written papers. However, to this age and time, this journalism practice has slowly taking a different phase. It has diverted to more techno-type.: just to mention blogging, wikis, web stories and other online articles writing and reading. 

It was pointed that communicatin science to the public has reached a standpoint from a paper age to a golden age, blog. Many are now diverting to provide content of blogs, web stories and podcasts – something that science journalists weren’t doing five years ago. While the whole article was interesting  read through, what captured my attention the most were the following  facts described about the shift :

  1. Fast and dirty – The conditions the main stream media’s need for quick and accurate science content and demands for short time before publishing sees pressure. At the same time the demand for stories and ideas has been matched by an increase in supply. So I thought science journalists should be picking up the  phone and talking to scienctists directly. But it is not, infact its more than that. To communicate science, online research and collaborative discussions takes place and even through blogging.
  2. Straight to the masses –  Science journalists and scientists themselves tend to reach out to mass audiences through the internet. This is to say that journalists are expanding their mainstream work into their blogs, bloggers with roots in the lab are moving into print. However, there will always be a need for professional journalists covering science.
  3. Culture mash – This point stages the culture of a journalist and a scientist. Both profession had to recognize each others needs, they are kind of fusing the two cultures.

Therefore, with these points in mind, in my opinion I think that writing about science or communicating science as far as the public knowledge is concerned, is changing phase. It is shifting to more online oriented, as this blogging is concerned. What do you think this shift would take the world of communicating science to? Is it taking us as science communicators to a compatible age? Or should we refrain and rely totally on our professional  jounalists with qualified reporting skills to continue with their profession?

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By noelynn

7 comments on “Blogging Supplanting Science Journalism

  1. Good post!
    Lots of people are talking about that traditional printed media will be replaced by new media, such as blog. However, the only thing we are sure about is that such a prediction will not be realized in one day. But your post reminds me of one thing happened to my friend. He was working for a travelling magazine. In one issue they decided to make all the features into big pictures and small paragraphs that less than 140 Chinese characters, same as Chinese twitter (Weibo). And actually you can see lots of magazines are doing this. Newspaper looks more and more fancier than it used to be. Almost all traditional media is being altered by the new media trend.
    I totally agree the three points you listed out about the shifting trend. But I think in one aspect science journals still has advantage. It’s the credibility. The depth of the scientific content could be made up by multimedia, while credibility is about the entire environment of the internet. Journalists wouldn’t like to totally continue their profession to a new media which people still feel uncertain about.

  2. More and more scientists are blogging these days which makes their research much more accessible and allows for very interesting debate. By inviting commentary from the world wide web, scientists can interact with people with different experiences and different opinions than themselves. This is how innovation happens.

    Having said that, most people follow bloggers who have similar opinions to themselves which makes them feel as though ‘everyone’ thinks the same way they do which is not necessarily the case and not necessarily a good thing.

    I like the ‘fast and dirty’ aspect of online science blogs because I can keep up to date on topics that interest me without having to read scientific journals which are often complicated and a challenge to read.

  3. There will definitely be a shift like you say, I did hear that journalists and travel agents are the fastest disappearing jobs in Australia.

    “should we refrain and rely totally on our professional jounalists with qualified reporting skills to continue with their profession?”

    Most professional journalists who report science don’t have any background in science anyway so I don’t think that will be any great loss. Even if scientists are not great communicators the information will likely be more accurate if people are reading from their personal/professional blogs.

    Maybe not so entertaining though…

  4. While scientist bloggers with credibility are on the rise at this time, i do think scientific journalists would be around for a long time. Perhaps the print media is losing popularity but we now have e-journals, e-books, online newspapers, magazines etc that are doing the same function. Somehow i think the two appeal to different target groups.
    Science bloggers would have their followers (as pointed out by djasudasen) and attract readers from similar fields of interest while journalists would be reaching out to a wider range of readership and popular platforms and present the information in a way easily digested by readers from all backgrounds, with a different emphasis.
    Surely their work compliment each other as the end aim is the same: to communicate science. The third fact you mentioned, culture mash seems to be the way it is heading now. Hopefully we will see more journalists with a sound science background and more scientists who can mesmerise us with their knowledge and communicate science in a very appealing way!

    I’m glad that i’ve not had to go and pick up a printed journal / book in the library since i started uni a year ago!! Everything is online now 🙂

  5. Nice post, I believe that scientific journalism will continue to be relevant even if science blogging is on the rise. I don’t deny that science blogging is great for mainstream exposure which is great for the scientist in seeking funding, support etc. I have issues with the lack of credibility that is associated with most science blogs, offering opinionated information rather than scientific. Science blogs do make for an entertaining read sometimes but I would rarely reference one in any uni assignments. One example of a great science communication is Dr. Karl’s weekly segment on Triple J. He also runs a blog which is very informative. So both are good!

  6. I agree with all the points that you have mentioned. With technology being so readily available these days, it is much easier to assess information through the internet. I liked how you describe the shifting of the paper age to the golden age as ‘fast and dirty’. It is true that information could be falsely leaked out, just to publicised the latest events and happenings. Blog authors could exaggerate the events without finding the right information just so they could be the first one to submit their post to gain better viewership.

    That being said, the internet is also a medium to connect the world. Anything that had just happened a few minutes ago could be broadcast to everyone throughout the world. It would be easier for science communicators to communicate and interact with the public through the means of the online interactive media. The use of videos and pictures could further enhance the topics and interest of the public.

    The birth of e-books and e-journals does changes the way people perceive reading as well. Stores such as boarders have been losing their popularity and been closing down. Stores are instead stocking up their shelves with devices such as kindle, which is now really popular in the States. Even though e-books are so readily available, I certainly still like the idea of going back to the basics and having to flip the pages of the book.

  7. While its true that science communcated through online, and blogging for that matter is on the rise, it only poses questions of credibility, simplicity, and effective communication.
    Axl pointed that credibilty may be lost, however, one should not deny the volume of updated and current information and knowledge accessible online. So however complicated and challenging scientific content is presented, take adventage of the online interactive media for simplification. As Suyinnn, highlights science communicators can communicate and interact easily through online.
    Finally, there is always two sides to a coin. So although it seems blogging is taking over science journalism, there is still alot of adventage in reading from papers.

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