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Sources in science journalism

Where do journalists get their sources from, and how should they make use of their sources? Last month, I discussed this topic as part of a panel on “Expert sources in science and health”, organised as one of several training workshops for science journalists.

The panel, chaired by Kevin Marsh from the BBC College of Journalism, included:

  • Ben Goldacre, talking about the importance of linking to original sources
  • Mark Henderson, the science editor of the Time, talking about who counts as an ‘expert’ in science and health stories and how should this expertise be identified to the audience?
  • Fiona Fox from the Science Media Centre, talking about the role of mediators of scientific expertise such as the Science Media Centre
  • and me, wittering on about what we can learn from the way science bloggers source their stories, and whether they be used as sources themselves.

Here are the videos. We each talk for around 5 mins and there’s a lively audience debate later.

One thought on “Sources in science journalism

  1. Maybe the solution is that we should encourage the general public to get out to Biologists’ library nature lectures more often; schools should be teaching students to read primary literature (and encourage them to subscribe to journals) and doctors / nurses should spend a lot more time studying recent findings on healthy eating and teaching their patients about nutrition and exercise. That way, media stories can be what they were intended to be: entertainment, and an announcement that new scientific studies have been released. Nothing more.

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