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Misinforming the Masses

>> Friday, November 21, 2008

Not that I do an excellent job with my posts or anything, but my local newspaper is a Pulitzer Prize winning paper, so I expect better from them. I was doing laundry and picked up an old paper at the laundromat. The article I started reading was about sea turtles in the Virgin Islands. I understand that it is written for the common "non-science-geek" person to understand, but just because they aren't scientists doesn't mean you omit information! There was one instance where they mentioned that the green turtle hangs out in seaweed. Ok. Sounds nice. But if the point of the article is to educate people, tell them the truth. They don't hang out in seaweed, they hang out in "turtle grass" ...a grass! Sure I could get even more technical and mention that in specific it is Thallassium species that they prefer, but it is NOT just seaweed. Argh. This is just one example of many that really upset me. I think I got upset because I had just mentioned to my husband earlier in the week that the Daily News really needed a science writer. This proves my point.

To make matters worse, there was an article done about my job, but they couldn't even quote us right. It mentions that Carmen said that about 10-20 local butterflies emerge from their coocoons from our breeding program a day. Cocoons?!?!?!? Carmen or ANYONE who works there would NEVER say cocoons unless we were talking about the few moth species we have here. We say chrysalis or pupae. Did Carmen maybe have a slip of the tounge? No way. This is a woman who wanted to scratch out the word cocoon from a book in our gift shop for kids. It was Diego and the Blue Morpho or something and shows kids that the morpho has a cocoon. NOT A COCOON.

I am sorry Daily News, but if you are going to try to teach your readers about science, how about you find a REAL science writer!



Q November 21, 2008 at 10:36 AM  

Dear Mimi,
Perhaps they could hire you as the science editor! That way you could still do your studies and play with butterflies. They could e-mail the articles they were thinking of printing...you could do the corrections and they could direct deposit the money for your services into your checking account.
I have plan...tell those sillies to contact me.
Turtle grass is lovely it is not seaweed.

Mimi November 21, 2008 at 1:35 PM  

@ Sherry... you should just run a business. So many of your ideas seem just perfect. If only! That would be nice. I was thinking of writing the editors a letter. Don't they have a fact checker?!?!? LOL!

Cheryl November 21, 2008 at 2:18 PM  

I am sure you would do the job beautifully Mimi.....could they not send you their reports and you re-edit them accordingly.......for a fee of course.......

Mimi November 21, 2008 at 4:30 PM  

@ Cheryl... You, TOO! Are you guys in on this together?? I don't know if I could do the job at all, but obviously there is a need for fact checking! :D

Wendy November 21, 2008 at 9:07 PM  

Well Mimi - three strikes and you're out! I agree with Sherry and Cheryl. You should be the editor! And make good money.
I totally understand. I felt the same way as you did when I was attending nursing school. Some of those "teachers" did not know their anatomy. I knew more than they did (I'd studied anatomy before). Arghhh. Frustrating.
Hope you have a good weekend!

Mimi November 21, 2008 at 9:20 PM  

@ wendy... that actually happened in school?!?!? oh my! I will try to go to their offices soon and see what I can do.

Mary-Laure November 22, 2008 at 10:28 PM  

It really KILLS me when journalists don't make the effort to check facts and know what they're writing about. How can we rely on them if we know they don't do their homework?

Mimi November 23, 2008 at 7:53 AM  

@ Mary-Laure... I couldn't agree more!

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