Ever wanted to be a science reporter but didn’t think you could hack it? Now Martin Robbins aka The Lay Scientist shows just how easy it is.
In “This is a news website article about a scientific finding,” a, shall we call it a “meta-article” about science reporting, Robbins begins:
In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of “scare quotes” to ensure that it’s clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever.
In this paragraph I will briefly (because no paragraph should be more than one line) state which existing scientific ideas this new research “challenges”.
If the research is about a potential cure, or a solution to a problem, this paragraph will describe how it will raise hopes for a group of sufferers or victims.
This paragraph elaborates on the claim, adding weasel-words like “the scientists say” to shift responsibility for establishing the likely truth or accuracy of the research findings on to absolutely anybody else but me, the journalist.
Read the whole thing for: brief soundbites! The illusion of context! Politically correct “balance”! Snarky subheads! And an amazing photo of an intergalactic flying triceratops.
If only science journalism really was that easy.