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Selling Science: How the Press Covers Science and Technology (Revised) [Paperback]

by Dorothy Nelkin
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)


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Book Description

February 1995 0716725959 978-0716725954 2nd Revised
This text discusses how the media cover science and technology. This revised edition replaces cases with current ones. It features a revised analysis to reflect recent changes in the way science is reported, with more attention paid to coverage of scientific fraud, the split between highly critical and promotional treatment of science and the increased role of scientists in the media. The book also includes more coverage of television reporting of science.


Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This well-documented study of science writing for the general public in the United States is frequently critical in tone. Nelkin demonstrates through many quotations that science writers frequently act as promoters of science and technology, depicting scientists as miracle workers who are constantly achieving "breakthroughs." She is properly scornful of the superficial, "gee whiz" brand of coverage so often produced by the popular press; she examines the constraints and pressures on science writers and explores the sometimes uneasy relations between research scientists and science writers. A challenging, worthwhile book, recommended for academic and public libraries. Jack W. Weigel, Univ. of Michigan Lib., Ann Arbor
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • Publisher: W.H. Freeman & Company; 2nd Revised edition (February 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0716725959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716725954
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,371,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Dorothy Nelkin was one of the premier "field" sociologists of science during the past 35 years, until her untimely death in 2003. She studied and wrote abundantly about the most intense science controversies of the post-war era: nuclear power, military research, foetal and DNA research, genetic modification, and much more. As part of this work, she was constantly involved in observing and analyzing how the media, as the most public forms of knowledge transfer, handled the different sides in any debate and how the knowledge itself was represented. Her book "Selling Science" comes directly out of this experience, and it is sobering. Nelkin shows how the style and information needs of the news media (as well as its logistical demands) differ profoundly from those for scientists, leading to perceptions and realities of misrepresentation.

No scientist who deals with the media should be without this book. Its examples are dated (from the late 80s and early 90s), but its points remain wholly intact. The recent scandal of how the media handled the climate change issue in the U.S., favoring ideas of "uncertainty" in the name of "balance" (while being deeply influenced by a tiny but vocal minority of global warming deniers) is certainly a case in point.

The book should also be read by all students of media studies, and by journalists themselves.
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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a memorable read. February 7, 2001
Format:Paperback
If you are interested in science writing and how scientists and those who write about scientists' work influence and affect eachother, you might find some useful information here. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother.
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