Re: the lack of coverage

mpbruns (mbruns@NASW.ORG)
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 12:35:44 -0500

My take on anthropology's lack of coverage stems from a dual-viewpoint. I
talk with both reporters who cover science, and anthropologists
themselves. There is a basic structural difference in the presentation of
anthropological data and information that's at direct odds with the news
media's need for summary statements. One therefore has two camps who
cannot communicate.

Good science writers attempt always to understand what the scientist is
trying to tell them, and then translate that into language fit for mass
consumption. Again, good ones know their own credibility lies with both
the accuracy of their reporting, and the good relations they have with
their scientific community.

Anthropologists who enjoy and wish to communicate with news media must
adapt to some of their time and space constraints, as well as the
necessity of having a "news hook"-one piece of information that the whole
story "hangs" on. It's not really hard to do. It's speaking another
language, but we shouldn't find that particularly hard to do, should we?


Merry Bruns

Merry Bruns
The Center for Anthropology and Science Communications


Member: AAA, NASW