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C-SPAN Program Features
Talk by Science News Editor
Press coverage of science has increased over the past thirty years and will continue to grow, with the web playing an ever greater role in dissemination, Colin Norman of Science magazine told C-SPAN viewers during a recent program. Norman joined Guy Gugliotta of the Washington Post for a forum on C-SPAN that was sponsored by the Close Up Foundation and the Newseum.
The forum was moderated by John Milewski and included an audience of teens from Thomas Jefferson High School in Northern Virginia. Both Norman and Gugliotta responded to questions from Milewski on science in the news, how science journalists work, and the role of science in government policy. Audience members also had the opportunity to pose questions to both guests.
"The students asked challenging questions, which brought out some of the unique aspects of science reporting. They would make good journalists themselves," says Norman.
Norman explained that his stories have to tread a fine line to appeal to his scientific audience. A genetics story, for example, must be written for top geneticists yet be understandable to cosmologists. Science magazine covers stories including basic research, science policy, new and interesting fields, features, and profiles of scientists.
Both Norman and Gugliotta, who appeared on the program on 31 May, said they didn't avoid reporting on controversial issues, noting that science increasingly plays an important role in political and social controversies.
The journalists answered many questions about anthrax, smallpox and bioterrorism. While the current focus of the news has been on these issues, Norman foresees future news stories focusing on the human genome and the science stemming from it, such as proteomics.
10 June 2002