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Sensational Science Journalism

by Rachel Levitt

Tags: Science and technology, discoveries, science news, journalism, sensational reporting, Panda's Thumb, New Scientist,


The world of science isn’t immune to sensational reporting. Jason Rosenhouse, a writer for Panda’s Thumb, takes science publications, especially New Scientist magazine, to task for making mountains out of scientific molehills. In a recent New Scientist article concerning disproval of Darwin’s theory of evolution, Rosenhouse writes, “[n]ever have you seen a science writer try so hard to make so big a deal from such meager materials.”

The editors made it the lead story (“Darwin Was Wrong,” the cover trumpets), yet the breakthrough is really just a small adjustment to previous theories, Rosenhouse writes, something already familiar to many who are up-to-date on Darwinism. Rosenhouse contends that this is the problem plaguing much of scientific journalism, where the predilection is to “sensationalize every small advance into a worldview shattering revolution.”

Image by simiezzz, licensed under Creative Commons.