Proportional representation…

DNLee, scientist, blogger, woman, African-American brings up an interesting point in addressing diversity within the communication of science. She poses the question of where are the black Science Journalists.

The Urban Scientist

Diversification is always a good thing no matter the subject. Perhaps thinking about this purely from a point of view of who is doing the science communicating doesn’t go far enough. Perhaps we need to think about the topics in science that get communicated.

It’s hard to make science “interesting” to the general public. The type of science stories we read about depends largely on the medium. The science stories we read in the media are always of a certain familiar flavour — due to, in part, the journalistic tendency for sensationalism (the Daily Mail!). But those of pertinence usually get some attention. Recently, the BBC reviewed the nature of their science reporting. The report is online and free for all to see, and has been commented on by many outlets. A highlight within the report points to a disconnection between what is presented by the BBC and what is potentially available — that is to say, prime subjects of astrology, geology, and anthropology which are a large focus of science reporting mask the true nature of the science that is out there. Ecology, evolution and natural history get prime time spots. This is skewed representation from mass media, that does not reflect the larger science picture.

In science getting projects funded for certain diseases of neglected populations is always a challenge. Orphan diseases, Neglected diseases, Tropical diseases, Rare diseases… probably all deserve their spot in the limelight, not just in terms of science funding but also in terms of science communicating. Without going into the usual rant about Big Pharma, profits and poor people not being able to pay for treatments for the diseases that affect them (a theme which we’ll be exploring as our story develops); a major problem is always advocacy. Not enough minority voices voicing “minority” opinions.


What had I twaught…

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