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Dumbed down science

Messages: 1 - 14 of 14
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by oldmanriver (U14455170) on Tuesday, 30th October 2012

    Horizon has improved this series and the BBC is to be commended for that but the science content overall has been seriously dumbed down. Saw this in a paper today from Professor Winston -

    www.telegraph.co.uk/...

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Chelle (U3043549) on Tuesday, 30th October 2012

    ugh, Winston is one to talk! His shows were all about viewing figures and I never understood how as a fertility and gynaecological expert he was qualified to present a programme on child development and "cavemen".

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  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by neutralpunter (U14668268) on Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    The BBC has improved its science documentaries recently . They also have been re-screening older science programmes on BBC4. - A very welcome development. It all reminded me of the BBC of old!

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by fourthelephant (U15487252) on Thursday, 1st November 2012

    Please can we have more programmes where it's assumed the viewers are up to speed with current thinking, rather than spending half the programme going through the basics yet again.

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  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by technologist (U1259929) on Thursday, 1st November 2012

    You highlight a divergence in the style/content of documentaries - some do start simply and the ramp up to more complex thoughts - others usually BBC4/ Academic presenters - just start - with minimal introduction moving to clear exposition /illustration of complex or more novel thoughts.

    there is a place for both in the BBC Multichannel PSB output.

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  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by technologist (U1259929) on Wednesday, 28th November 2012

    You might like to read the BBC Trust report on Science coverage downloads.bbc.co.uk/...
    " The Trust commends the Executive for the significant progress which has made since publication of the Review in 2011. It is apparent that the Review has had an impact on output and is likely to continue to do so.
    The Trust welcomes the appointment of David Shukman as BBC Science Editor...."

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  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by stevefb (U14977970) on Wednesday, 28th November 2012

    The Trust welcomes the appointment of David Shukman as BBC Science Editor...."   Science editor! Isn't he a BA?

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  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by oldmanriver (U14455170) on Wednesday, 28th November 2012

    Thanks for the link technologist. I read the title of the report and assumed it was about "impartiality and accuracy". The report touches on this only at the end. The key points of this report are how the BBC has done in

    · Appointed a science editor – David Shukman
    · His impact been to a) give more weight to science programming; b) staff training (which has not worked) and c) breaking down barriers to science coverage at the BBC
    · A science forum
    · Head of Science for BBC vision – Andrew Cohen
    · How to plan ouput and maximise impact
    · Tried to redress the preponderance of scientists from southern uiversities.
    · Tried to increase the number of women presenting science
    · Audience research
    · Mapping of science coverage across the BBC
    · Open days for university students on science

    There are few paragraphs which mention "impartiality and accuracy".
    Furthermore, the majority of examples used about BBC science coverage are cracking examples of dumbing down.

    David Shukman is, of course, a geographer which is taught as an art and not a science at most universities in the uk.

    Andrew Cohen is, at least, life sciences.

    Seems to me a typical BBC response - appoint more managers and hold more courses.

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  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by Peta (U24) on Thursday, 29th November 2012


    Impartiality is covered on the very first page in the Background section.

    Background

    In 2010 the BBC Trust launched a review of the impartiality and accuracy of BBC science coverage.

    The Trust felt that the importance of science in contemporary life, the sensitive ethical and social issues that it raises and the fact that the public looks primarily to the media for its science information, meant it was vital to ensure the BBC’s audience enjoyed science coverage of the very highest standards.

    BBC content must be accurate and impartial in order to safeguard its independence and public confidence and it is a key priority for the Trust that the BBC covers potentially controversial subjects with due impartiality.

    Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London, was commissioned to write his own independent report as part of the review. The review covered specialist and non-specialist science content on TV, radio and online and science was defined to include not just natural sciences but also coverage of technology, medicine and the environment relating to the work of scientists.

    In it response to publication of the review, in 2011, the Trust welcomed the clear finding that BBC science coverage was generally of a very high quality.

    Nonetheless, the Trust was concerned about the deficiencies in coverage that Professor Jones and the content analysts had identified.

    On the application of due impartiality, the Trust agreed with Professor Jones that, “there should be no attempt to give equal weight to opinion and to evidence” and that a “false balance” (to use Professor Jones’ term) between well-established fact and opinion must be avoided.

    The Trust asked the Executive to report back in a year on progress in addressing the deficiencies identified. That report has now been received and is published alongside this commentary.

     

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  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by technologist (U1259929) on Thursday, 29th November 2012

    Thanks for the link technologist. I read the title of the report and assumed it was about "impartiality and accuracy". The report touches on this only at the end. .......
    David Shukman is, of course, a geographer which is taught as an art and not a science at most universities in the uk.

    Andrew Cohen is, at least, life sciences.

    Seems to me a typical BBC response - appoint more managers and hold more courses.
     


    This was a follow up from the "Jones report" that the Trust commissioned - which was on Impartiality and Science coverage etc see www.bbc.co.uk/bbctru...

    The Trust then told the executive to do something - which I think the executive were moving towards .... and the report "follow up" is what the Trust have done to see if the executive have done what was asked - which they have and more.

    It is interesting to note how the cross Media working that BBC Science has done maps to what George Entwistle was looking at in the de-siloed BBC - Vision New Media Radio and News all working together... .

    David Shukman is a good communicator - and leader/ focus in the same way as other BBC subject editors.... and when Online teaching did notwork the BBC then went to the more expensive face to face work under the BBC academy - which means that it can be shared outside the BBC.

    As always more can Be done - but we are seeing some very good Science program and more science in the Today programme..

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  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by oldmanriver (U14455170) on Thursday, 29th November 2012

    That's the point Peta. The relevant bit is "BBC content must be accurate and impartial in order to safeguard its independence and public confidence and it is a key priority for the Trust that the BBC covers potentially controversial subjects with due impartiality"

    Despite this the Trust's report actually gives very little on how it intends to deal with this. Rather it gives details of how it is promoting science, putting more women on to front up science etc. - it does not address how it is going to show accuracy and impartiality.

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  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by Peta (U24) on Thursday, 29th November 2012

    You must have missed this part in the quote above.

    On the application of due impartiality, the Trust agreed with Professor Jones that, “there should be no attempt to give equal weight to opinion and to evidence” and that a “false balance” (to use Professor Jones’ term) between well-established fact and opinion must be avoided.  

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  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by oldmanriver (U14455170) on Thursday, 29th November 2012

    You must have missed this part in the quote above.

    On the application of due impartiality, the Trust agreed with Professor Jones that, “there should be no attempt to give equal weight to opinion and to evidence” and that a “false balance” (to use Professor Jones’ term) between well-established fact and opinion must be avoided.    
    But the report does not address that.

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  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 13.

    Posted by Peta (U24) on Friday, 30th November 2012


    Yes, it does. You might read the report again.

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