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Gratuitous advice

Any science writer who has been around for more than a few months gets asked questions about the profession. 

Scientists are puzzled by the business. Many of them cannot understand the need for science writers. Scientists can, after all,  write papers by the thousand. So why unleash popularisers on the subject?

Scientists with a deeper understanding of the skills present a complicated story in terms that many people can understand are more sympathetic, even if they still have their suspicions about what we get up to.

 To try to dispel some of the myths about science writing I have written various articles and given numerous talks. Many of them are best forgotten. One talk that might spark an interest if only for its topicality covered the business of science writing in the age of the internet. 

I gave this talk at the Second World Conference on Science Journalism in Budapest in 1999.(Many thanks for the invitation Istvan.) I upset some younger members of the profession by suggesting that the internet is less than perfect. Among other things, this talk shows that it is all too easy to allow the internet to set the news agenda, with science writers chained to their desks chasing the latest web lead.

Well, my view is that you have to get out into the laboratories of the world to find out what is really happening.

Here is the text of the talk I gave in Budapest.

Michael Kenward 2000 Last changed 07 February 2008