Friday, April 26, 2002

Since I critiqued science reporting, Dan Simon pointed me to Discovery Channel Canada for some great science reporting. Although DCC isn't mainstream news (it specializes in science), and therefore wasn't in my sample set, I was happy to check it out and verify Dan's claim. No content-free scare or miracle stories to be found.

The Prairie Drought story immediately caught my interest, as it won its author Tiffany Mayer an award for best environmental story. Although it is indeed a good science article, it suffers from some of the same contextlessness I've complained about. "The dry spells Leavitt foresees could last 25 years, causing agriculture in the region to lose at least $50 billion." There's no indication whether this is a tiny fraction of the region's income or a significant chunk, or whether this loss is with or without action on the part of farmers to irrigate or otherwise remedy the situation.

Another article on Ecstasy does a surprisingly good job summarizing the state of research into the effects of the drug -- an unusual characteristic in a science news article, where usually the article is occasioned by a single new study result and thus only covers that one study. The article is criticized in online responses both for being too negative and too positive about the drug's effects.

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