In this piece written by Anna Clark for the Columbia Journalism Review, the author describes three methods to get to the truth behind scientific journalism. She first explains the main issue many people have with scientific journalism: how to identify which articles to trust for factual information. To do this, the author presents a real example of how two reports can be contradictory, yet still be true. This was done through explaining the debate behind the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous, where the same scientific report was used to back two very different claims on how effective AA actually is for sufferers. She then explains her three methods of how to identify what really is true: looking for broad, sweeping claims, looking for strong pieces of evidence, and finally the flexibility to change what you believe as new information becomes public.
I thought this was a fantastic article due to the way the information was presented. The author employed a “show don’t tell” strategy right in the beginning by utilizing a real example that many readers know. In my opinion, her article was practical by giving readers methods to properly identify inaccurate reports, as well as warnings that science itself is an extremely difficult subject to report on due to its complexity and tendency to switch back and forth on a particular issue.
However, I did feel the author did not write the most effective nut graph. This part of the article lacked statistics about the issue and did not really compel me to continue reading.
How did everyone else feel about the article? Did you think the kicker and the lede were strong enough? What other points of weakness can you find within the piece?