More ideas

November 24, 2006

Need to establish – is there evidence that the reporting of health stories affects public health/wellbeing? Seems obvious, but I’m criticising science writing; need to be scientific.

 Also – is there evidence that scientific education can help? This time there probably won’t be actual empirical evidence, so will have to rely on reasoning.

Was the Lancet right to publish the initial Wakefield study? They must have known the furore that it would have caused. Do they normally publish such tiny and unreliable studies? Is it possible that their wish to be groundbreaking etc was a factor – i.e. the very knowledge that it would cause such an uproar makes them more likely to publish, as it could enhance their reputation?

Who apart from the writer has responsibilities? Does the paper as a whole have a responsibility to hire science graduates to comment on science stories? To what extent should editors be able to check facts; and should they bring in outside expertise when they are not qualified to check the facts themselves? How plausible is all of this?

Do tabloid leaders “expect” to be lied to (source: JN interview)? To what extent do they affect public opinion – are they just fun to read or do people take them seriously?

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