Respected science journalist Jonathan O’Callaghan tweeted the following last week:
“Someone declined an interview with me because they said their discovery was “too small and not worth reporting.”
He went on to insist, “I told them it was cool!”
Where do your sympathies lie? You might applaud the honesty of the academic, heroically turning down the chance of headlines and column inches.
It just leaves me frustrated. Journalists don’t chase stories “too small and not worth reporting”. Often researchers absorbed in the detail and the process can’t see the bigger picture and the impact their work has (or might have) on the audience.
To be fair there’s a chance something else is going on here. O’Callaghan may be pursuing an unspoken angle that might portray the science in a negative light, but I very much doubt that’s the case.
If a journalist you respect (and that word is crucial) thinks what you are doing is newsworthy then go with them. They know how to do their job. Don’t sensationalise, don’t distort, and root what you’re doing in the audience’s world.