MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (SHASS) recently threw three questions at Seth Mnookin, associate director of the school’s graduate program in science writing. All three answers are fantastic.
To the query “… What can typical readers do to ensure the information they get is accurate?”, Mnookin replies:
“There are so many sources of information out there, and it’s important to remember they’re not all equally reliable. Just because someone has a slick YouTube channel with good lighting doesn’t mean they’re reputable.”
“I try to remind people that seeing “MD” after a name doesn’t mean that a person is ethical or even intelligent. So, if someone forwards you a link about a medical procedure you’ve never heard of, and it’s never been covered in the mainstream press, you as the consumer have to be skeptical about what’s going on.”
Another conversation highlight involves Mnookin noting that while researching his book Hard News about the New York Times, he discovered that many of the people loudly complaining about the state of journalism did not subscribe to many or any newspapers, magazines. “If you care about quality journalism, you need to vote with your wallet,” he urges.
Read the full Q&A here.