British science writer Ed Yong takes a long look at how science journalism and writing is changing and adapting to digital journalism and online publishing, from changes to the “inverted pyramid structure” of reporting and the rise of amateur writers, who may themselves be experts in a scientific field.
Here’s how Yong thinks science journalism could benefit from a growth in blogging and “amateur” science writing:
It is inevitable that more and more people are doing the job that journalists do; perhaps it is best to see them not as interlopers, but as trainees. Gradually, the business of discussing new papers (mere stenography to some) could be handed over, freeing time and resources for professionals to do what they should be best at – synthesising entire fields, finding and investigating deeper stories, and considering the broader place of science in society. If this could be achieved effectively, it might also allow the mainstream media to continue to employ journalists who are professional writers first, and experts second.