January 12, 2011
By Kate Johnson
How ironic that people like Neil Cameron blame the vaccine-autism mess on journalism, when it was actually a journalist who first blew the whistle on Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent study.
At a time when science journalists are struggling to retain their foothold let’s not forget the conclusion of the autism-vaccine debacle.
Medicine is a highly specialized field that calls for specialized journalists who can critically assess and examine scientific studies. Such journalists are a dying breed as media outlets downsize and health sections dwindle. New York Times science reporter Natalie Angier recently said science coverage is “basically going out of business” – which means the public must rely on non-specialized journalists to navigate the medical literature. While they do their best, how can such journalists know the intricacies of a field that science journalists spend an entire career learning? Continue reading