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  1. 1

    Clare Peddie

    Correction: @ClarePeddie covered Science and Environment for The Advertiser. I’m taking time out (about 12 months) to have a baby. Then, who knows. The workplace has changed so much in 6 months, it may be unrecognisable in 12. My perfect job was being consumed by other demands – such as back-filling various editorial (letters, opinion, foreign) roles and helping out on the news desk. Science was an optional extra. Fortunately another reporter, Katrina Stokes, will take the round on board while I’m away, but she’ll need to get through Clipsal 500 (car race) and cadet chores first.

  2. 2

    Roger Clifton

    Perhaps science journos need to find – or be found by – a publishing model that is commercially viable.

    Crikey is one such viable commercial publisher, with (at least one!) science-avid readers willing to pay for their copy. There must be other enrepreneurs out there on the Web with a vision of a great and profitable publication, needing science journos as part of their recipe.

  3. 3


    You assume that the electorate was informed by your science articles – looking at the most read lists on the websites, I’d be surprised if many people had bothered to read your articles when they were being published. This is absolutely no reflection on your skills as a science journo. I just think that the average punter wouldn’t understand even the most basic scientific article, let alone something as complex as the legal intricacies of gene patenting. Just because it was printed in the MSM doesn’t mean the public was more informed, merely that the information was more easily accessible.

  4. 4

    Gavin Moodie

    The Australian still claims an ‘environment’ reporter who I note is decidedly is not included as a science reporter. Perhaps ideology also affects who is employed at the Australian.

  5. 5

    Hamis Hill

    The Australian did alright, too, with Dorothy Illing.
    But this world-wide decline corresponds to that period in which wild-eyed, religious fundamentalism has set up “Science” as a rival “Belief” system of dangerous and unaccountable power, ably aided by single-issue environmentalism kicking the same paranoid ball around.
    Very strange when Christ Himself defined science with “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free”.
    And neither does Islam, of which religion Christ is a prophet, fear science or knowledge claiming that to do so is a lack of faith.
    By this process of elimination, the anti-science religious fundamentalism must have a source which is anti-Christ.
    The only religion with this inveterate, jealous thirst for absolute domination looks very much like the worship of Jove of the evil empire of Rome. Which, ironically, crucified Christ.
    By their actions shall ye know them; carefull, all that dangerous knowledge stuff again!
    Now there was/is? a very impolite conflation of religion and politics! Still among us?
    Don’t worry, Leigh, science will get sexy again when the fundies start burning people at the stake, just like they used to do in the old days.
    Science has a history; time that it was retold, with all the gore and cruelty of the struggle out of darkness.
    That would make good copy. Beats Zombies and Vampires cold.

  6. 6

    Brian Ede

    Science and the scientific method is our bulwark against a dark age where the ‘most popular’ view is the most correct and the ‘most believed’ is the ‘most factual.
    We all have to maintain a healthy scepticism but as busy people confronted with a myriad of subjects we look to trusted gatekeepers.
    Most political journalists in the mainstream media have given up reportage for half baked opinion and reflection of the editorial fancy. (Miss you Meggers!)Some Business reporting remains factual but often shallow.
    Roger Clifton is correct about the future but there are going to be hard days ahead until the new model takes form and structure.
    This is an issue that desperately needs thrashing out. I can complain but someone more savvy than I needs to start teasing out the elements of what makes a successful model.

  7. 7

    Harris Evan

    Thanks for the remark about gene patenting. While we are waiting for the appeal process to the High Court, if there is one, I no longer expect balanced comment on ANYTHING from News Limited until their political and social bias is addressed. Science reporting holds the possibility that serious miscalculations in public policy will be avoided. Witness Australia’s complicity in global warming through our exports of iron ore and coal. Science well reported would have alerted the nation to the cadmium pollution coming from Mt Morgan, and indeed the misrepresernting of asbestos risks. But I have to say, law and jurisprudence are just as neglected as science. And sexual abuse is ALWAYS mentioned. One reporter wrote of aluminium as a heavy metal. Hello?

  8. 8

    Scott Grant

    While I commiserate with Leigh over losing a paying gig, I can’t help feeling she was wasted at the Oz. I used to welcome her contributions when she wrote for New Scientist, and the Sydney Morning Herald. But, since I never, ever, read a Murdoch rag I missed her attempts to enlighten that bastion of darkness and misinformation.

    I have often wondered why general and political reporters have to be so abysmally ignorant on matters of science. To that, one could add innumerate, especially in statistics.

    On a related topic, I have often wondered if the “journalism” degree can be blamed for lowering the standard of general knowledge of new journalists. Perhaps it would be better if cadet journalists were recruited from those who have a demonstrated body of knowledge in some other discipline. Surely journalism was once taught on the job, by doing, and by mentors?


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