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50 misused words and phrases in science

The goal of this article is to promote clear thinking and clear writing among students and teachers of psychological science by curbing terminological misinformation and confusion. To this end, we present a provisional list of 50 commonly used terms in psychology, psychiatry, and allied fields that should be avoided, or at most used sparingly and with explicit caveats. We provide corrective information for students, instructors, and researchers regarding these terms,…

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WSJ gives ink (again) to climate change critics

In his latest Wall Street Journal op-ed, Matt Ridley provides a predictable litany of reasons why action on climate change shouldn’t be a priority right now. It’s a classic “delayer” mash-up of professing respect for science while simultaneously failing to take repeated warnings from scientists seriously. None of his distractions or excuses change the fact that acting on global warming now is the cheapest, safest, and most effective way to…

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WARNING: wild extrapolation (a classification system for science news)

Science news and science writing is increasingly popular. There are increasing numbers of people getting into science, which is great. But science is a huge field, with many different disciplines and areas, all of which can go into quite painstaking detail. Obviously there’s a lot to talk about, which can prove daunting to the newly interested, so good science writing is important. However, science and science news/reporting/writing is the work…

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The growing gap between journalism and public relations

One factor behind the increase in public relations jobs has been digital technology. Agencies and companies are now able to reach out directly to the public in any number of ways and are hiring public relations specialists to help them do so. There are ways this can be helpful to the public, such as being able to offer updates in real time about virus outbreaks and background reports on the…

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Women science writers conference about changing the ratio

Image credit: Perrin Ireland Science writers take a “show me the numbers” approach when tackling a tough topic. So organizers of the first Solutions Summit for Women in Science Writing came armed with their own data to back up recent concerns that gender bias, inequity, and sexual harassment are still holding women back. This included a new survey showing that women science writers reported far more negative professional experiences related…

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Making science reporting more fair & balanced

The following guidelines, drawn up in consultation with scientists, science reporters, editors and subeditors, are intended for use by newsrooms to ensure that the reporting of science and health stories is balanced and accurate. They are not intended as a prescriptive checklist and of course shorter articles or NIBs [“news in brief” items] will not be able to cover every point. Above and beyond specific guidelines, familiarity with the technicalities…

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