Substituting a text box for a test tube

In the name of science, find me a newspaper.

Nuclear reactor meltdown? Sow the seeds of shredded newsprint and sawdust. Need climate change data? Incinerate “ice cores” of the Boston Globe.

While that legacy medium makes further contributions to scientific endeavors, science communication is finding a more efficient route into the world. In other words, science is no longer waiting on network TV execs to find their file footage of the Big Bang.

People like Jeff Toney (Shhhh. He’s an actual scientist.) are communicating directly with the public.

Toney, dean of Kean University’s College of Natural Sciences, now finds himself in a leading role of a small, but growing group of scientists who embrace their public. He was a keynote speaker last Friday for the conclusion of MU Life Sciences Week.

“Representing science is a huge responsibility,” he said.

Reporters have the obligation to truthfully and accurately report what we witness each day. Scientists who embrace blogging are fulfilling the same requirement.

“Published scientific works have a purity of logic but are missing the story that lies behind every discovery,” he writes on his blog.

Science academics balk at the idea of sharing vital information when they could be writing for a peer-reviewed journal.

Tenure, anyone?

It should be exactly opposite.

Journalism and science are sitting in the same penalty box these days. Public interest and engagement are rare commodities for both.

Giving a face to news organizations and scientific discoveries is a good move. Allowing active engagement with our publics on a personal level is smart.

The keyboard won’t bite, I promise.

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