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The Essence of Online Science Journalism
 

The Essence of Online Science Journalism

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A brief overview of what distinguishes science and online journalism from traditional journalism, and what characteristics of the internet are particularly useful when dealing with the distinguishing ...

A brief overview of what distinguishes science and online journalism from traditional journalism, and what characteristics of the internet are particularly useful when dealing with the distinguishing characteristics of science journalism. Contextualizing with embedded information is put forward as one application of web technology that is particularly valuable in science journalism, and two implementations are briefly described.

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  • Relevant to New Media + Journalism:-multimedia – most of this can go on your television or radio-no limits on size/length, but greater need for curation-non-linear-interactive
  • There is implied structure, but you could read most of this information in any order. That’s non-linear. You can put a linear story on the web, but your reader will not necessarily read it that way.This diagram appeared in the September 27, 2004 issue of Time magazine. This graphic was a collaboration between JoeLertola and Ed Gabel. In this diagram Gabel created the illustration of the airplane as well as designing the layout of the graphic. Lertola created the illustration of the hurricane.http://www.joelertola.com/grfx/grfx_new/chrt_hurricane.html
  • You can do interactive in print – the choose your own adventure books were interactive.Now, though, we can do this much more effectively with web technology, which is inherently interactive.
  • Characteristics, not etymology.-the darker centers are the most central characteristics – and they do not entirely overlap. So the most essential characteristics of science journalism may be only somewhat important aspects of journalism.-the crescent-shaped area is still science journalism. It simply represents characteristics of science journalism not shared by general journalism
  • Putting it all together…We have “Science New Media” (or whatever you prefer to call it!)But let’s shrink that down even more to make it manageable. So, what is essential to science writing – an important issue or challenge – that can be enabled by new media?

The Essence of Online Science Journalism The Essence of Online Science Journalism Presentation Transcript

  • Essence
    of
    Online
    Science Journalism
    CSWA 2010
    Miriam Boon
  • Online Journalism
    New Media
    Journalism
    Online Journalism
    • multimedia
    • flexible size/length
    • thus, curation is essential
    • non-linear
    • interactive
  • Core aspects of
    online journalism?
    multimedia: Any non-interactive multimedia couldrun as easily on TV or radio. The ability to combine with text, is new, though.
    flexible size/length: This is new, but could end updrowningthe reader. Requires careful curation, but thatnearly negates thedifference. On its own, this justdrowns the reader uselessly.
    non-linear: Can be done off-line, but it is unavoidable online.
    interactive: Can be done off-line, but it is unavoidable online.
  • Non-Linear
    An example of non-linear in print, which has implied structure, but could be read in any order. Online, readers will pop over to other sites to check facts, look up words, etc. whether you like it or not.
    Diagram from September 27, 2004 issue of Time. By Joe Lertola and Ed Gabel.
    http://www.joelertola.com/grfx/grfx_new/chrt_hurricane.html
  • Interactive
    You can do interactive content in print, but it works much better online. And again, whether you build it in or not, readers will interact with your work by commenting on it elsewhere, looking for more information elsewhere, etc. Build it in yourself and they’ll do this with you, rather than in spite of you.
  • Science Writing
    Examples of characteristics more essential to science journalism than traditional journalism:
    Journalism
    Science Writing
    • Topics are often tough to explain
    • Information often available injournals, which are increasingly accessible to the public
    • Usually incremental
    • Global beat
    For more characteristics, or to suggest your own:http://newsciencemedia.wetpaint.com/page/What%27s+characteristic+about+science+media%3F
  • Online
    Science Writing
    New Media
    There are lots of peopleworking on finding newmedia tools that willaddress essential issues faced in mainstream online journalism.
    But there are Issues/characteristics that are far more important to science journalism than traditional journalism and thus may be neglected by those people. That’s where we should be focusing our attention.
    Journalism
    Science Writing
  • Today’s Example
    • Use flexible size and curation
    • Embrace interactivity and non-linearity
    • Assist explanation of complex topics
    • Support statements to encourage reader trust
    • Contextualizing via embedded information
  • Embedded Info
    • Allows for different knowledge levels
    • Provides background and context
    • Allows a reader-driven experience, providing more depth in those areas the reader chooses to explore
    • Allows the writer to support statements without interrupting the flow of the writing
  • Methods
    • Links throughout the story
    The problem: readers have to flip back and forth,often losing sight of the original story
    • Mouse over or click for a pop-up
    The problem: traditional pop-ups are blocked, and non- traditional pop-ups appear over the text the reader is tryingto clarify
    A solution I attempted in 2009:
    Use a dedicated column with a spot for references, and a spotfor glossary terms, activated by mouse over
  • D. I. Y.
    MJ project: PCOS and metformin
    The problem? To do this, I had to hack some existing javascript, and then insert the following html codethroughout the website:
    <span class="refFact" onmouseover="javascript:showRef(‘exampleReference)"> This is a reference in the body of the text.</span>
    <div class="refPopup" id=“exampleReference>
    <p><a href="http://www.examplereference.com”target="_blank"> Paper name. Example Journal. 2006 May;12(5):526-31.</a> </p>
    </div>
  • http://www.apture.com
    • Free, or you can pay for a custom version
    • Works with most major open source website back-ends
    Example: Dan’s Wild Wild Science Journal
    • Possible to use (sort of) free with other back-ends
    Example: International Science Grid This Week
  • Contact me
    Twitter: @milara
    Personal website
    Blog: The Open Source Press
    international Science Grid This Week
    Work email: miriam.boon@isgtw.org
    Personal email: miriam@miriamboon.com