There's a crisis in science journalism focusing on quality. Is the best preparation for a science writer to write for a government agency related to the topic of freelance writing? Government employees writing about science could be the way of the future now that large daily publications such as the NY Times have recently disposed of their environmental desk. Analysts are looking to see where they draw the line and get quality science journalism in the mass media.
What shapes a science writer's writings best -- a government job for a science-oriented agency? Or going freelance from the start without having experience in a genre-related job? A new study from Arizona State University looks at the crisis in science journalism and jobs in the type of reporting about science and medicine that is read by the majority of consumers of news and features.
It has been more than 50 years since Rachel Carson published her groundbreaking book Silent Spring. Emphasis at the meeting is on how to improve the quality of science journalism in the media. Also see, "Kate Ravilious and Liz Kalaugher awarded EGU Science Journalism Fellowship."
Regarded as a hero by some and a villain by others, Carson helped revolutionize the way the public views environmental science. The study is being presented at the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting. One area of Rachel Carson's career that is often overlooked is her time as a government employee.
This is where she found her true start in journalism and it is the area G. Pascal Zachary, professor of practice with the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University, will be discussing at the 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston. See, "Academics grapple with balancing their research with the need to communicate it to the public."
One area of Carson's career that is often overlooked is her time as a government employee. Where Carson first had her start in writing science news and in-depth journalism pieces for the media is the topic presented February 17, 2013 by G. Pascal Zachary, professor of practice with the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University. Check out the book, Rachel Carson and Silent Spring written by Rachel Carson and published by Houghton Mifflin on September 27, 1962.
The book is widely credited with helping launch the contemporary American environmental movement. It generated controversy in the media over the use of chemical pesticides, health effects, and environment ethics.
Zachary believes Carson's experience and work in this field is what shaped her later writings
"At a time when popular writers wanted to write about serious subjects and devote themselves to learning, there was little support for them commercially," Zachary explained about Carson and her early career in the February 17, 2013 news release, ASU professor sees Rachel Carson's early careers as a model for today's science journalism crisis. "I'm intrigued about how her career suggests a way forward for government to support serious writing and journalism about science and the environment."
The panel discussed Carson's writing on February 17, 2013 at the 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston. Zachary is part of the panel, "A 50 Year Legacy: Why does Rachel Carson Matter?" Zachary, who co-organized the panel along with ASU professor Jane Maienschein, gave his talk, "Back to the Future: The Rachel Carson 'Model' as a Response to the Crisis in Science Journalism," on Feb. 17, 2013.
Carson worked for the government for nearly 20 years before becoming an independent science writer
Carson served as an information officer with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and the Fish and Wildlife Service for nearly two decades before becoming an independent writer. During that time, she reported on news and findings from the agency. Also see, "Studying networks to help women succeed in science."
Additionally, he saw her early government work as an opportunity. With publications such as the New York Times recently disposing of their environmental desk, Zachary thinks the format of having government employees writing about science could be the way of the future.
"I'm trying to see Rachel Carson in both a historical sense and prefiguring and anticipating a movement that will reform or revolutionize science journalism today," Zachary said in the news release. "When I talk about her as a model for the crisis in science journalism, what I mean is currently there is less and less quality science journalism," he added. "As a community, we have to figure out how to draw the line and get a minimal amount of quality science journalism."