Today's Guardian has a thought-provoking perspective from John Rennie, former editor in chief of Scientific American and author of The Gleaming Report on the PLoS Blogs network, discussing how science journalism on the web could be better than legacy media coverage:
Online reporting could offer a fresh start - the opportunity to correct major defects in the existing coverage of research. I would like to challenge editors and reporters in all media to reconsider fundamentally how they define science news
Postponing coverage of research is not a real or preferable remedy to the ills of science journalism. Nevertheless, I do urge publications to rethink and broaden their science coverage. If nothing else, they should consider that, thanks to the web, readers can increasingly find their way to the press releases from journals and research institutions at popular sites such as Science Daily and Futurity.org. If our journalism does not offer substantially more value to readers than these alternative "news" sites, something is wrong.
The piece is based on remarks Rennie made during a panel session at the recent Science Online 2011 conference. His speech from the panel discussion is available here - and is also worth reading.
Previously: The problem with "science by press conference"