2:00 PM

Journalists Are Thinking What You're Thinking

We've been talking in class (and on your quizzes) about how the values of journalism don't always match up with the values of science (or maybe even of technology or policy).  A great piece over at the Colombia Journalism Review reflects exactly on that problem.

Environmental and Science Journalists quoted in the piece noted that their coverage of renewable energy-related issues tends to follow a pattern:  first reporters hype the energy source as a savior to many of our energy problems.  Then, in stage two, the gild falls off the lily and the reporters do stories noting everything that is wrong with the energy source or technology.  Finally, in stage three, "realism sets in," and journalists try to understand the energy source or technology in a deeper or meaningful way.

These reporters talk frankly about how they've covered everything from wind to electric cars.  They're cognizant of the media's failures in covering energy, and so it makes for an interesting read.

Comments (3)

I enjoyed the post at your link. I wrote a comment there because I found the three stage analysis of SC to be very intriguing and pertinent to a post I recently made. Take a look at the comment I made and the post I have written to see if you think my analysis is correct.

That's a great comment, Ben, and I like that you posted it at the original post.

I agree with you--that 3-stage process is a helpful analytical tool. I bet I'll be seeing it everywhere now, and it's useful to know it's sort of part of an evolution or process (flawed as that may be).

I think one of the main points they were trying to get across to the reader is that the media tries to go to stage 1 from the start. Stages 2 and 3 naturally follow. What might be possible is if stages 1 and 2 are communicated at the same time from the start (essentially stage 3), the whole process would break down. The result would be more honest, trustworthy reports.