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RE: New finds

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dinosaur@usc.edu [mailto:owner-dinosaur@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
Steve Brusatte
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 6:55 PM
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: RE: New finds

On Wed, 10 Jul 2002 18:07:12
 Tracy L. Ford wrote:
>This is assuming the reporter got his story right, or knew what he was
>writing about, like that can really happen (unless it's from Jeff Hecht!
>That's different). The press that calls Mammoths dinosaurs, and doesn't
>that granite can't have footprints or skeletal elements. I hold the press
>lower than ..., well, you can fill in the blank...

Hey now! :-)  Actually, there is a major problem with science reporting.  I
was fortunate enough to listen to a talk on this subject recently in San
Diego (given by a young science reporter who recently graduated from
Berkeley with a degree in biology or biochemistry, or something like that).
The major problem is this: science, at its deepest level, is just too
technical.  If I were to write a story on, say, physics, I'm sure a physics
mailing list could pick it apart.  When someone is an expert on a subject
(as many on this list are), then it is easy to catch mistakes.  However, I'm
sure that very few of the locals who read or listened to the "ampelosaur"
story knows what _Ampelosaurus_ is, much less a titanosaurid, and, probably,
even much less a sauropod.<<

So, your saying the problem is science itself and not accurately reporting

And, contacting the experts and reporting what they say would help.

>>Therefore, I wouldn't hold the press lower than (_blank_).  Misspellings,
bad grammar, and bias are valid reasons to criticize the press, but, the
press has a job to serve the public and present news of value to the common

Right and that's why a majority of the news is about movie stars? That's
more important than science?
I can do with out that! I want accurate reporting (which I don't think
really happens all that much).

>>A technical article on _Ampelosaurus_ would not be of any real value to
the average person who reads a newspaper.  An article on a dinosaur
discovery, with a mention of how it might relate to a previous discovery, is
of interest, however.<<

When it comes down to it, the upper levels of science are just too technical
for those who have not studied it to understand.<<

So it can't be explained to the public?

>>  As a result, those technicalities are of no value to the public.  In a
science magazine, like New Scientist, however, the stories must be held to a
higher standard.  Luckily, people like Jeff Hecht (and other gifted science
reporters like Carl Zimmer) do an excellent job.<<



So, are you saying the press HAS to/NEEDS to DUMB things down for the public
so the public can understand? Why not let the public look at a dictionary to
find out a word they don't understand. Do you agree that it's ok for the
press to say a mammoth is a dinosaur? Or crocodilians are dinosaurs? Like
they often do. I watch the local news and hear this all the time. How hard
is it for the research department (is there one any more for the news) to
actually do a quick research and get the story right?

Are you saying the public just wouldn't understand? Is it really that
difficult to explain science in an interesting and accurate way? Or is the
public so blasay that they don't care? Give them sports and a beer and
that's all they need?

Tracy L. Ford
P. O. Box 1171
Poway Ca  92074