Why do we need science journalism?

One year ago we did not know that we would face with Covid-19 pandemic and never thought that this would be  a difficult situation as it was all around the world and it would keep us stay at our homes all day for a year.

We heard a lot about a virus called SARS-CoV-2 for the first time and unfortunately a lot of people died as it was really sad. Some people left their workplaces and worked from home because it was too dangerous. We were informed that COVID 19 spreads one from another when people stay close to each other as this virus visits different people by air.

Of the flood of misinformation, conspiracy theories and falsehoods seeding the internet on the coronavirus, one common thread stands out: science journalism is important.

WHO:  Fighting misinformation in the time of COVID-19, one click at a time[1] 

Information is what we call things that are accurate to the best of our current knowledge. For instance, COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019 and is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. One of the difficulties with any new pathogen, like this coronavirus, is that information changes over time as we learn more about the science. Misinformation, on the other hand, is false information. Importantly, it is false information that was not created with the intention of hurting others.

Everyone believes they are sharing good information  but unfortunately, they are not.  

At the other end of the spectrum is disinformation. Unlike misinformation, this is false information created with the intention of profiting from it or causing harm. That harm could be to a person, a group of people, an organization or even a country.

What’s the solution?

We can learn about science reporters so we can keep track of reliable news addresses.

1. Assess the source

Who shared the information with you and where did they get it from? To check for fake social media accounts, look at how long profiles have been active, their number of followers and their most recent posts. For websites, check the “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages to look for background information and legitimate contact details.

When it comes to images or videos, make it a habit to verify their authenticity. For images, you can use reverse image search tools provided by Google and TinEye. For videos, you can use Amnesty International’s YouTube DatViewer, which extracts thumbnails that you can enter into reverse image search tools.

2.Go beyond headlines

Headlines may be intentionally sensational or provocative to get high numbers of clicks. Read more than just the headline of an article – go further and look at the entire story

3. Identify the journalist & author

And we can ask the following  questions[2] :

•             What is your interpretation of it?

•             Why did you react to it that way?

•             Does it challenge your assumptions or tell you what you want to hear?

•             What did you learn about yourself from your interpretation or reaction?

•             How does this make me feel?

•             Why am I sharing this?

•             How do I know if it’s true?

•             Where did it come from?

•             Whose agenda might I be supporting by sharing it?

Finally, science journalists are very important because they make great efforts to find accurate, objective, ethical, and evidence-based information because of this reason we should be selective and only pay attention science reporter news. Maybe this little step can make a big difference to spread the right information around and could make the world more beautiful and peaceful place to live in.

[1] https://www.who.int/news-room/spotlight/let-s-flatten-the-infodemic-curve

[2] https://www.who.int/news-room/spotlight/let-s-flatten-the-infodemic-curve

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