New York Times writer Andrew Revkin seems to have struck a nerve with his recent post about the apparent demise of science journalism in the mainstream media. The comments are pouring in and from what I’m reading there, the audience for this kind of reporting is devoted, even if it does too often fly under the radar of programmers and editors.
I’m pleased to observe that so far, at least, public broadcasters seem to be bucking the trend. Here at KQED, the science/environmental multimedia initiative Quest is already well established and the funding commitment we have for Climate Watch should keep us afloat for the foreseeable future.
It would appear that the erosion of science coverage in the media is a mirror image of what’s happening at the climate policy level. With the world’s economy in a tailspin, there’s a sense among many policymakers that there are bigger fish to fry than coping with the longer-term effects of climate change. Some would counter that there are few “bigger fish” than the ability of the Earth to support human life but hey, that’s not scheduled to end tomorrow and maybe your job is.
Whatever the state of the economy, responsible coverage of science is a crucial element–perhaps more so than ever–in maintaining an informed public, which in turn can set priorities accordingly.