Nautilus

The Problem With Science Writing

Want to hear a seamy insider secret from the science communication industry? The border between journalism and public relations has more turnstiles than Grand Central. Professionals move with relative ease, and little stigma, between newspapers, websites, and magazines and what would otherwise be called propaganda centers—university communication departments, government agencies, corporate PR arms, military research branches, and so on. So it should come as no surprise that the outputs from these two domains are sometimes hard to tell apart. Informing the public about science can become nearly indistinguishable from efforts to promote it.

Think about it. For every article singing the praises of new science, how often do you see one that is critical? Not often. Unless you’re talking about eugenics or

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