Let's compare the backgrounds of science writers for Fox and NPR

fauxGhostofAlyeska says he was "simply curious who Fox News' science reporters are. I wanted to know what kind of scientific backgrounds they might have."

Here's what he found:

NPR's science correspondents include:

I wanted to see how Fox News' science writers compared, so I went back over scores of their science articles, starting with the most recent, to identify and research the various authors. Here's what I found:


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  1. Years ago a photojournalist friend of mine got me into the press area to witness the maiden spaceflight of SpaceShipOne, and we happened to be near the Fox News reporter covering the launch. After the initial takeoff and the requisite filming of soundbites the reporter looked to one of his attendants and said "what happens next?" When someone explained that the spacecraft would separate from the carrier plane, rocket to sub-orbital altitude, re-enter the atmosphere and land back on the runway he was dumbstruck. ("You mean it lands like a plane?")

    I couldn't help but notice that if said reporter had briefly glanced down at the Scaled Composites-issued press pass he was wearing around his neck then he might have noticed that this entire flight sequence had been helpfully diagrammed in big, kid-friendly illustrations.

  2. So what kind of goals does a person who joined 20 minutes ago have?

  3. No, it makes sense to compare "what the market wants" to "what the government provides".

    But some people don't like that comparison...I have no idea why, though when you compare government-funded science and reporting on science to Fox, you might think Fox was a bit of a koch-up.

    [edit- I understand NPR is not really government funded. I was actually thinking more of NASA, the NIH and so on in my comparison, and NPR as an organisation that reports on real, government funded science.]

  4. I don't see what the problem is. I get all my science news from Fangoria.

  5. when you compare government-funded science and reporting on science to Fox

    I know this is essentially flogging a dead horse, but NPR is not directly funded by the government.

    NPR member stations get around 5% of their funding from the government, and their dues make up about 40% of NPR's operating budget. So indirectly, NPR is about 2% government-funded. I can't imagine many large media operations that aren't getting at least 2% of their gross expenditures in subsidies, etc.

    They're far more beholden to their corporate sponsors at this point, with 22% of their direct budget, plus another 8% or so coming upstream from the member stations, which get about 20% of their money from corporate sponsors.

    All this assumes that NPR's own page on its budgeting is accurate.

    That being said, they are (nominally) non-profit, and radio to boot. Hardly a direct competitor to Fox.

    But what really makes me sure that we're all going to die is this: Neither CNN or MSNBC seem to have dedicated Science categories. CNN's appears to have been deprecated in 2010, in favor of an iPhone-heavy "Tech" section.

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