Wednesday, October 05, 2005

News Coverage of the Nobel Prizes

The idea behind the Nobel and other prizes, is to increase awareness of scientific endeavors.
Unfortunately the local media is doing a horrible job of covering the awards.

Let's look at Monday's Medicine award. Marshall and Warren's "story" includes a great narrative where they battled Dogma and eventually resorted to SELF EXPERIMENTATION inorder to prove their hypothesis. Their findings affected many people and led to a straight and simple cure (antibiotics) for many stomach problems such as ulcers. Despite this here's how the local newspapers reported this story:

Boston Globe
Where: pA11 (no mention on the front page)
How long: A couple of Columns
Grade: B-

NY Times
Where: A sentence on the cover, article on D5 (the Science Section)
How long: Half a page
Grade: B

Boston Metro
Where: No article!
How long: No article!
Grade: F

Yesterday's Nobel in Physics was a bit better, although the news (as I heard it on NPR) seemed to emphasize "GPS" and "lasers", instead of the true nature of the work ... the quantum mechanical description of light and it's application in measuring sub-atomic distances. The coverage in this mornings papers was better. The Boston Metro had a cover story (and I suspect the Boston Globe as well) but this was due to the fact that Roy Glauber (who first used quantum mechanics to calculate how light interacts with matter) was from Harvard. The NY Times had an article on page A22 that did a good job of explaining the nature and importance of the work.

Let's see if in tomorrow's papers, the Chemistry prize gets as much attention.