Stocking regards the collection as a kind of "legacy" project built on more than two decades of teaching science writing at IU and prior work as a journalist at the Los Angeles Times, the Minneapolis Tribune and other media outlets. She hopes the book will help the next generation of science writers -- wherever their work appears, in a newspaper, magazine, blog or elsewhere.
"The need for responsible science writing has never been greater," Stocking said. "Science has important implications for all of us -- for individuals' health and wellbeing, for relationships between groups and nations, for the environment, for our appreciation of our place in the cosmos, and for so many other things.
"But many people in the public tend to see scientific claims as just more political claims. Sometimes they are, but that's all the more reason why those who communicate about science need to do it in such a way that it promotes public understanding," she said.
She adds that both scientists and journalists are needed to sort out the wheat from the chaff for a public that can grow confused by or frustrated with claims that conflict with one another or that clash with their own beliefs and understandings.
That the volume arrives during a time of major upheaval for traditional media -- and a round of losses of science and environmental writers from major media, including The Times -- may strike some as a puzzle. But Stocking sees much of the gloom-and-doom in an historical light.
"There is a lot of hand-wringing in science writing circles right now, it's true. But you heard the same sorts of things from magazine editors when television came along," S
|Contact: George Vlahakis|