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Special Edition
September 2002

  RTD info
    News in Brief, Publications, New on the Web
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  Graphic element RTD Info - Special Media - Talking ScienceGap or chasm?

Sciences + media = ? This issue is devoted entirely to the painful relationship between researchers and journalists. Painful? Unfortunately, the grievances are too many for comfort on either side of the equation. Scientists often take journalists to task for cursory if not inaccurate reporting, while journalists accuse scientists of being uncooperative and insular.

There can scarcely be a laboratory or editorial team anywhere that has not suffered some of the torments caused by this communication breakdown which is now common knowledge.

To explain this gap – which some would describe as a chasm – scientists often stress the fundamental incompatibility between the job of research and the practice of journalism. Whereas discipline and precision over a long period are the hallmarks of scientific research, speed, simplification and emotion are what the media are seeking.

Yet on closer inspection is the work of researchers and journalists really so different? Is not the job of the scientist to investigate the 'players' of this world and the 'stars' of the Universe to reveal their lives, their interactions and their secrets? And must not the journalist be objective, gather evidence and cross-check sources to reveal 'the whole truth'? Surely scientists and journalists both seek exclusivity and work under the pressure of intellectual rigour? Are they not both 'reconstructing' reality by means of an account which obeys certain rules and conditions?

Everyone will make his or her own judgement. But we can – and should – see in this chasm one more indication of the distance which separates the 'two cultures' so dear to Charles Percy Snow. Even though, as usual, the reality is more subtle. Some scientists have become genuine media professionals, veritable stars of science, while some journalists possess a knowledge of science that is the envy of many researchers.

  Researchers and journalists


Researchers and journalists

Misguided or misunderstood?
How to forget the clichés and facilitate dialogue between science and the press? Report from a workshop organised by the European Group on Life Sciences.

Form and content
Relations between science and society. Is it all getting more complicated?

Portrait of a portrait artist
In conversation with Gero von Boehm, a journalist with a passion for art and science, who brings rigour, ethics and aesthetics to his work.

The strength of sound
When the absence of vision can be a strength… radio success stories

The secret of small screen success
Information or entertainment? A look at the world of research and technology through Europe's TV channels.Information ou spectacle?

A channel portal
A proposal for a specific tool for small screen professionals, accessible on the Internet.

The art of talking science
Interview with David Filkin, one of the pioneers at the BBC.


  Internet, the new highway to information?

Internet, the new highway to information?

Science on-line
Accessible, convivial, and in abundance… but aimed at who?
The low-down on science sites.

The media's medium
Internet use by journalists.

Virtually educational
Customised resources for teachers – providing you can navigate them…

Web Utopia?
When will we have the immediate dissemination of scientific information free of charge and accessible to everyone?

Interesting sites


  The essential world of publishing

The essential world of publishing

Books which stand the test of time
An interview with Giulio Giorello, scientist and collection editor at Raffaello Cortina.

When Gutenberg enters cyberspace
The web – a new marketing tool for 'paper' publishers.


  Scientific image: the real thing and the illusory

Scientific image: the real thing and the illusory

Seeing is believing?

Snapshots of the invisible

Previous edition
RTD info 34

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